Health Secretary Francisco Duque III Tuesday denied reports there were expired medicines in the department’s central warehouse, but admitted it was likely that could be found in their regional warehouses.
Until June 30, Duque said about P3.3 billion worth of medicines, ready for distribution, were being kept in the Central warehouse. He said these medicines will expire Dec. 31.
Before senators inquired into the proposed P160.15-billion budget of the DOH for 2020, Senator Christopher Go, who presided over the hearing, questioned Duque about reports of expired medicines stocked in the health department’s warehouses.
Go also quizzed Duque on the DOH’s reported failure to distribute the medicines.
During a visit at the New Bilibid Prison, Go found out that many inmates needed medicines, and yet, they just got expired at the DOH.
Go suggested the DOH create a better mechanism for the immediate distribution of medicines to avoid getting expired.
On the other hand, Senator Cynthia Villar questioned the delay in the opening of the Las Piñas Drug Rehabilitation Center.
Villar said it was President Rodrigo Duterte who asked her to build the drug facility which had remained non-operational for the past nine months.
However, the DOH promised to open it Oct. 7.
The DOH was also questioned on the 10-year toilet project to give toilet facilities to the 3.5-million households especially in Metro Manila.
The project is in line with the Manila Bay cleanup activity.
Villar warned that if the DOH would not act swiftly, she would recommend that the funding for the toilet project be moved to the DPWH.
Go suspended the hearing which will be continued today.