PAPUA New Guinea’s Community Coalition Against Corruption (CCAC) has supported calls by the Medical Society of PNG (MSPNG) for the Minister for Health to provide public justification for the inclusion of an ineligible tender among those being considered for the award of a three-year contract for the supply of medical kits, The Loop news website reports.
The organisations argue that an ineligible bid does not become eligible simply by changing the rules. They state that ineligible bids should be rejected.
According to The Loop, the MSPNG has complained for months that the rules were changed after an ineligible bid was received and the bidder was awarded the contract.
“Such behaviour damages the credibility of government and creates a very poor international image of PNG as a country which behaves improperly in awarding contracts,’’ CCAC said.
“The awarding of a contract to the bidder who was unqualified, at a price K60 million above the price offered by others, creates very real questions among health providers and the wider community.
“When we as a nation failed to maintain internationally acceptable standards in awarding this contract, we caused the Australian government to withdraw its K38 million funding for the distribution of these apparently overpriced medical kits.
In a related story reported by The National newspaper, the Medical Society of PNG (MSPNG) has broken its silence on why it was not represented on a delegation that visit medicine manufacturing factories in China.
“The MSPNG did not feel it was appropriate to take part in a trip to China,” a statement said.
“The participants would be shown what the organisers of the trip wanted them to see.
“Participation in such a vendor-sponsored trip could end up compromising the MSPNG in its role as an objective guardian of health and medical professional standards of practice and research in PNG.”
Last week research was released documenting the presence of poor-quality medicines, particularly the anti-malaria drug primaquine, throughout PNG.
The report said that “poor-quality life-saving medicines are a major public health threat, particularly in settings with a weak regulatory environment.”
The research team obtained medicines from randomly sampled health facilities and warehouses and hospitals across PNG.