Statement of the Department of Health
On the expired medicines stored in the DOH regional office
[Released on October 13, 2015]
The Department of Health (DOH) addresses the public on the reported expired medicines discovered at the DOH Regional Office in San Fernando Pampanga last Saturday. DOH clarifies that the said medicines are not government-procured.
“Nalaman po ng DOH na may iilang non-government organizations (NGOs) na nakatanggap ng mga donasyon mula sa ibang bansa para sa mga biktima ng bagyong Yolanda . Ang mga gamot na ito ay may iba’t ibang expiration dates. Minarapat ng DOH na tulungan ang mga NGOs na ito sa pamamagitan ng pagpapahintulot na gamitin ang warehouse at personnel ng DOH Region III upang masiguro ang tamang segregation ng mga gamot at ma-distribute ang mga ito bago mag-expire.” Health Secretary Janette P. Loreto-Garin explained.
All medicines procured by the DOH are mandated by government regulations to have expiry dates ranging from three (3) to five (5) years from the time of delivery.
Upon Secretary Garin’s assumption in office, there were 72 partially documented containers in the port, mostly donations that DOH had to settle and assist; hence, DOH issued guidelines on foreign donations covering medicines and medical equipments to ensure the quality of donations being delivered to the public from various organizations. These guidelines mandate, among others, the acceptance of donations, whose expiration date will allow adequate time for distribution and utilization among beneficiaries. In the case of medical equipment, donations may only be accepted if the consumables are locally available and affordable. It is also required that the model of the equipment donated is not more than two years old.
The said guidelines also call for the completion of documents from the donor and proper notification to the intended recipient, prior to shipment of the goods. This will prevent the accumulation of demurrage charges, as most of the NGOs do not have the budget to pay for these charges.
“Sa tulong ng ating mga kasamahan sa media, nais po naming ipaalam sa mga nagbabalak mag- donate o tumanggap ng donasyon galing sa ibang bansa na makipag-ugnayan sa DOH para sa mas maayos na pagtanggap at pag proseso ng mga donasyon. Tayo po ay magtulong-tulong upang masiguro na lahat ng donasyon ay mayroong sapat na panahon para maipamahagi at magamit ng ating mga kababayan na siyang higit na nangangailangan nito.” Garin concluded.