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05 February 2014


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Barbara, the fuss over BPP is about supplies of medicine going into the public hospital system.

Where the drugs that the private pharmacies and hospitals in PNG get their supplies is another matter.

As you are probably aware you can go into a pharmacy anywhere in PNG without a prescription and buy all sorts of drugs off the shelf.

A lot of the pharmacies are owned by Chinese and Malaysian companies and you tend to see drugs from those countries on the shelves.

I've even bought suspect drugs from well established pharmacies, like Johnston Pharmacies (remember them, they're still going strong). Things like anti-malarials come from India and Vietnam. You have to wonder what you are swallowing when you see the fractured English on the labels.

I remember some kids in the Yuat Valley getting quite sick after taking shonky grille tablets.

I've heard somewhere that many pharmacies get this stuff cheap and that PNG is a dumping ground for inferior products, just like it is for tobacco.

Thanks Julie Bishop for the diplomatic way you are handling this problem of the PNG Departmentof Health giving the contract to BPP.

There was a good coverage by the ABC last night and the Secretary of Health explained how he gave the contract to BPP as they were a locally registered company, a new ruling they brought in to justify their choice.

He failed to mention that this meant they had to pay an extra K20 million and that BPP were not ISO rated and was known to buy medicines from companies which had been found selling inferior goods.

I hope your Department will continue to monitor this situation. The doctors of PNG are still keen to put pressure on the Prime Minister to cancel the contract with BPP and give it to the better tender where the company has an ISO rating.

On PNG Attitude we feel the village people, who will be taking these medicines, need someone to stand up for them. We realize that if the politicians get sick they can easily afford the better medicines on offer that can be trusted.

Had productive visit PNG - Pt Moresby/Lae. My deep affection for amazing country and wonderful people continues.

Here's another issue for Bishop and O'Neill to consider.

Plans for a massive expansion of the Manus Island processing centre carry extreme risks of exposure to hazardous materials, asbestos and unexploded ordnance, as well as high risks of environmental and heritage damage with the potential for significant impact on local people and their livelihoods.

Detailed planning documents of an expansion for an extra 2,000 asylum seekers and 800 staff at the offshore processing centre in Papua New Guinea reveals the development could pose significant risks to the local environment, asylum seekers and nearby residents.

Guardian Australia has obtained a leaked design report and preliminary environmental impact statement commissioned by the Department of Immigration. The reports were undertaken by Sinclair Knight Mertz and provide a detailed analysis of the construction and operational risks of the new facility.

The project has been fast-tracked by Australia’s Department of Environment despite the warnings contained in the EIS. In December the department made a ruling that the development would not have a significant environmental impact and did not have to go through a more rigorous approval process.

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