Bidder Criticizes Gov’t Procurement System

Despite indications late last week that the Ministry of Health would address concerns about the transparency of its procurement process for medicine and oth­er materials, one pharmaceutical company has yet to receive the information it needs to make an appropriate bid, a company official said Monday.

“The ministry should put the name of the country where they want the medicine from so that we can compete with other companies,” said Laing Ly, general director of Medical Supply Co.

Last week, the company filed written complaints to the ministers of health and finance charging that the government’s bidding documents “failed to identify technical or precise standards” required to make an appropriate bid.

Without knowing the standard of drugs the government requ­ires, Medical Supply Co and oth­er bidders cannot enter bids at a competitive or even credible price.

In response to the letters, government officials called the six bidders to a meeting at the ministry Thursday. At the meeting, Laing Ly said, health and finance officials said they would discuss Medical Supply Co’s concerns, but gave no concrete answers or timetable for responding.

Contacted Monday, Minister of Health Nuth Sokhom said that he would have to check with his staff about whether information on the quality of medicines had been distributed properly.

“The ministry will focus on quality in particular, and on price as well,” Nuth Sokhom said. “Their comment on [quality] is right.”

Laing Ly also said that the minister’s cabinet director visited company representatives on Sunday and said the ministry would not extend the Sept 3 due date for bids.

Nuth Sokhom said Monday he did not know if the ministry was planning to postpone the deadline.

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