Auditor General discover gross wasteful expenditure at CMS

13 May 2019

BY VICTOR BAATWENG

The department of Clinical Services had no option but to furnish the office of the Auditor General with a list of expired drugs that the department is still keeping at the Central Medical Stores (CMS).

It is not clear what the intention of the department is with the expired drugs but the Auditor General – Pulane Letebele has since called the Clinical Services department to make arrangements, ‘for the destruction of the items as soon as conveniently possible after expiry”. 

At the time of the audit, CMS is said to have in its store expired drugs covering the period from April 2010 to March 2018 with an estimated cost of over P26 million.

This is not the first time that CMS will be forced to destroy expired medicines. In 2007, just over 10 years agoscores of patients at government hospitals were sent home without medication prescribed by doctors due to lack of medical supplies. Still during the same year, CMS dumped more than P20 million worth of expired medical supplies.

Investigations by Boehringer Ingelheim - a German medical consultancy firm engaged by the Ministry of Health to carry out the re-engineering of the Central Medical Stores, turned up information suggesting that scores of patients are being told that there is no medicine while the supplies they need are rotting on the shelves at the Central Medical Stores.

The German consultants also turned up stock that is well dated but mixed up with expired stock that is “lying in all areas within the facility. Expired stock was found in mixed boxes of rubbish, in bulk, in pick and storage locations.

In the latest audit report, Letebele stated that her predecessor had in 2010/2011 reported purchases of shrouding material which had been bought in 2008 and was far beyond the present and future requirements of the department of Clinical Services.

“A recent audit of the accounts of Central Medical Stores had revealed that some ten years later, the material was still in stock in innumerable quantities. At present, I am not aware of the results of any new efforts to dispose of this material. From audit enquiries it was evident that there were no supplies accounting records maintained for the material, in breach o supplies regulations’, said Letebele.

It is said that a former Permanent Secretary in the ministry of Health had at some point admitted that the government wa finding it very difficult to sell some of the material on question and that some will be donated to Congo-Brazzaville.