Opposition Leader, Joseph Harmon is debunking the claim that some $10B in drugs had expired under his A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) government’s watch. It was the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) government Minister, Dr Frank Anthony, who made the allegation earlier this month, claiming that there was a public health crisis afoot following the discovery of an exorbitant amount of expired items within his Ministry’s Materials Management Unit (MMU).
But Harmon is now contending that the items expired under the previous PPP/C government.
“The media was fed with the usual lies that $10B of expired drugs had to be dumped, and that the fault was that of the APNU+AFC government. We wish to make it pellucid that these drugs were expired since 2013, and they were from the friends of Bharrat Jagdeo (Former President, now-Vice President) [who] were getting a 100% of the cost of any shipment even before they shipped a single drug. By the time a lot of the drugs got here, their shelf life had partially expired. So, by the time the drugs were offloaded, the bulk of it – expired!”
Harmon said that the government is creating a smokescreen to hide their “incompetence” by blaming the APNU+AFC. He went on to say that the claim being made is a ploy to activate emergency procurement, so that the government can have leeway to resort to single-sourcing.
Asked why his government never got rid of the expired drugs since he claims they date back to 2013, Harmon replied: “Some of them were disposed of. There’s a process, a very long process that you have to go through to get rid of these drugs. I’m not going to make an excuse for it not being completed at that time, but certainly, they were set aside and they were not part of the current [stock].”
On March 22, Minister Anthony told the media that over 300 truckloads of expired drugs and medicinal supplies were dumped between October 2020 and mid-March, 2021.