HCMC authorities approve health sector’s centralized shopping center

The People's Committee in Ho Chi Minh City has just approved the project to establish the health sector’s centralized shopping center which is expected to be opened in July 2022 after being appraised by the Department of Home Affairs.
HCMC authorities approve health sector’s centralized shopping center ảnh 1 Associate Professor Tang Chi Thuong

The southern largest city is the first locality in the country to pilot this model, expecting to solve difficulties and problems in the procurement of drugs and medical supplies.

Associate Professor Tang Chi Thuong, Director of the city Department of Health had a talk with a reporter from Sai Gon Giai Phong newspaper on the center.

According to Associate Professor Tang Chi Thuong, once every two years, the city Department selects units to alternately purchase drugs on the list of drugs that must be procured in accordance with regulations.

The Department of Health mobilized human resources in the sector to participate in the purchase accordance with the provisions of the law and the regulations of the Ministry of Health without forming a new apparatus to carry out centralized procurement in rotation at each unit. Besides, it must ensure an adequate and timely supply of drugs to hospitals.

However, the drawback of this procurement is the lack of professionalism because the apparatus responsible for implementing the bidding is not continuous and there is staff instability, said Mr. Thuong.

Moreover, the hospitals whose staff are assigned to centralized bidding do not have the function of coordinating drugs after bidding but this is performed by the Pharmacy Professional Division under the Department of Health. Hospitals are just allowed for the procurement of drugs but not for the procurement of medical supplies and equipment.

He supposed that the formation of a centralized shopping center in the medical sector is necessary, in line with practical requirements as well as help to solve the above limitations, while it can help fix the weaknesses of bidding in each hospital such as difficulty in reaching the optimal price, inconsistent winning bid prices, reducing time and resources spent on bidding. This is a good solution for centralized bidding for medical supplies - equipment.

HCMC authorities approve health sector’s centralized shopping center ảnh 2 The Institute of Traditional Medicine and Pharmacy opens technical proposals for drug procurement packages in 2021-2022 
According to the direction of the Government, the health sector must minimize the recruitment of more staff when establishing a new center or a non-business unit. Therefore, full-time staff of the centralized procurement center is those with experience in procurement and management of drugs, supplies, and medical equipment including heads and deputy heads of pharmacy departments, and heads and deputy heads of materials and equipment departments of hospitals. The newly-established center will have less than 30 staff.

Professor Nguyen Anh Tri, former director of the National Institute of Hematology and Blood Transfusion, said that setting the center is the right solution to the situation.

Currently, the procurement of medicines and biological materials is being seriously disrupted because contractors are very hesitant to supply, and appraisal consulting firms are temporarily suspended. Patients are those who suffer most due to the disruption of the drug supply. Health workers are heartbroken about it and want to do something, but because of the lack of an adequate and appropriate legal framework, they can't do it.

The establishment of Ho Chi Minh City's medical center shopping center to solve current problems and bottlenecks is considered the right solution for the city itself. HCMC has a large population and a large number of hospitals, so it is necessary to have good policies and decisions to solve problems in bidding and procurement.