Company at centre of CMS crisis blacklisted by UNDP
by Sunday Standard Reporter
Missionpharma, the Denmark-based drug company at the centre of the Botswana Central Medical Supplies drug crisis, has been blacklisted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) following corrupt practices – Sunday Standard investigations have revealed
Missionpharma last year admitted to bribery in a landmark United Nations deal to supply life-saving drugs to Congo. In an out-of-court settlement last year, the pharmaceutical supplier admitted to paying kickbacks in connection with a UNDP contract in 2007. The case concerns an order from the UN Development Programme to provide, among other HIV medicines, condoms and mosquito nets to the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2005.
The order, which was the entire DKK 180 million, went to Missionpharma.
Sunday Standard investigations have revealed that Missionpharma transferred about five million dollars for two people from the consultancy which advised the UN on which the orders should go to.
The international Global Fund for disease prevention, which financed the project, said it was “deeply concerned that companies or individuals trusted with money provided to save lives in the fight against Aids, tuberculosis and malaria may have abused that trust”.
The police probes in London and Copenhagen worked jointly on investigating a complex series of transactions suspected of routing the money from Missionpharma to a British bank account linked to World Response, which is registered in the UK as a charity and in the US as a nonprofit organisation.
Missionpharma, however, remains the supplier of choice for the Botswana Central Medical Supplies despite the department’s evaluation matrix, which places a heavy weight on reputation of supplying companies. The CMS evaluation matrix requires that bidders should “provide evidence of strong relationship with key players in the global pharmaceutical market, e.g. WHO, UNICEF, PEPFAR, MSF, etc.”
The controversial matrix which was allegedly designed to close out local drug suppliers and tailor made for international suppliers preferred by the CMS command is being blamed for Botswana’s current ARV crisis.
Sources close to CMS revealed this week that the tender for the supply of the life saving drug first ran into trouble after almost all suppliers were disqualified by the controversial evaluation matrix. Facing a supply crisis, the CMS command decided to water down the evaluation matrix to accommodate more suppliers, but the adjudication results were rejected by the PPADB.
CMS was last week forced to throw out the evaluation matrix and go for emergency procurement of ARV drugs. Insiders say CMS was this week calling on suppliers throughout the world promising to take whatever stock they had at any price.