Under pressure, accompanied by demands for the resignation of Minister Venko Filipce, the Ministry of Health terminated the tender for the procurement of tests and reagents for blood analyzes worth 35 million euros. The tender is canceled because there are flaws in the submitted documents from the only company that gave a bid for the public procurement, said Filipce at a press conference yesterday morning.
The procurement of tests and reagents should have been part of a project to centralize laboratories in public healthcare institutions, which the Ministry announced at the beginning of last month.
A new tender for reagents will be announced when it is determined why only one bidder has appeared on the current one.
– We consider that it is incorrect to conclude an agreement in this case and for this tender, even though the Law on Public Procurement allows to conclude an agreement with one bidder. We will continue the process of implementation of the concept of centralization of laboratories – said Filipce.
He said that in the next public procurement they will implement the experiences and remarks in order to have no shortcomings in the tender documentation and not let it happen again. He denies that the cancellation of the tender is due to the pressure after it was published that the only company that appeared on the tender was AHR LAB Import-Export DOOEL Skopje which was formed on April 18, 2018. Filipce said that it is incorrect and additionally creates doubts when there is only one bidder in this tender procedure.
– Everything will be in accordance with the Law on Public Procurement. There was no pressure to cancel the tender from either side. I understand that the public has doubts about how the procurement is done considering how the previous government worked and for which there are already open procedures, but there was no pressure to make the decision. We urge companies working in this field to work on reducing the prices of reagents up to 15-20 percent, as far as the market value is concerned – said Filipce.
The offer was submitted by the German representative office of the American pharmaceutical company Abbott. AHR LAB Import-Export was supposed to be a subcontractor. Complaints were filed to Avicena and Dr Panovski on June 18, while “Adriamed” also filed a compaint two days later.
Sabina Fakic, Center for Civil Communications: The tender indicates a range of weaknesses
The public opening was attended by representatives of the Center for Civil Communications, which conducts monitoring of public procurements from 2008, and external representatives from the companies.
Sabina Fakic from the Center for Civil Communications says the cancellation of the tender is a logical consequence of the pressure from the public and the complaints from pharmaceutical companies to the State Appeals Commission on public procurement.
– What is now crucial is what kind of decision the State Commission will make and what suggestions it will give to the Ministry of Health regarding the tender documentation. Essentially speaking, this tender points to a number of weaknesses. Firstly, the decision to centralize procurement and the long-term closure of the market with tests and reagents for a particular type of analysis had to be based on in-depth analysis and disclosure of the negative aspects of the current procurement method. Second, for tenders of so great value it is inevitable to set higher criteria for determining the ability of the bidders, including the subcontractors. Thirdly, transparency and accountability in one purchase are not demonstrated only by publishing information that you owe to publish, but it is also necessary to provide details of the received offer – says Fakic.
According to Fakic, the public should be informed in greater detail about the received offer from the company Abo3, as well as about their subcontractors.
– In general, in the following tenders, whether they are about centralization or decentralization of procurement, I see the role of the Ministry of Health in creating a real competition between firms, and not the monopoly of one to in order to replace it with a monopoly of others – says Fakic.