Head of the OECS PPS, Mr. Francis Burnett, said that pooled procurement, paired with the use of an electronic procurement system, allows the region to stretch its limited health care dollar to procure more medicines, and medical products, for citizens.
Since its implementation in 1986, the OECS PPS has been able to reduce the market cost of medicines in the region by 20 percent and, in so doing, collectively saves regional governments an average of USD $4 million dollars a year.
The 25th Joint Tenders Advisory Committee Meeting was held at the Bay Gardens Hotel in St. Lucia from May 22-26th 2017 and representatives from nine OECS Member States met to review the suppliers’ bids based on price, quality and past performance.
Mr. Burnett said that the biennial meeting provides an opportunity to revisit the procurement list to remove medicines which are less effective and replace them with newer, more effective, options that give patients a better therapeutic outcome.
“It is important to ensure that the formulary is a dynamic process so that doctors are not frustrated having to prescribe medicines which have become obsolete.
“In the spirit of public health and safety, we want to ensure that citizens are guaranteed the best possible list of medicines,” Mr. Burnett said.
The reviews are carried out by a Tender Sub Committee which comprises the Central Medical Suppliers Officer from each OECS Member State, with the exception of Martinique. The nine-member Committee ensures participation and a sense of ownership into the process.
The six day meeting was sectioned into three main agenda items: a four-day review of roughly 800 supplier bids, overseen by the Tender Sub-Committee; a review of the medicines to be procured by the PPS for the next two years, overseen by the Technical Advisory Committee; and a review of the procurement system, overseen by the Suppliers’ Forum.
The PPS procures an 840 item product portfolio including a diverse range of pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical items, such as medical supplies, contraceptives, and radiological supplies. The PPS is a self-financing public sector monopsony or buyers’ cartel that covers its operating cost from a modest surcharge imposed upon subscribing Member States.