KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry has dispelled accusations of drug supplies monopoly and corruption.
But the whistleblower, who made the allegation in June, gave an update to The Star detailing the rising tender contracts value of drug supplies by top six agents.
A tendering agent explained however that the procurement procedures were transparent and the use of agents was common, even in other countries.
On Friday, Health secretary-general Datuk Seri Dr Chen Chaw Min said the ministry had investigated the procurement procedures for hospitals and found that they followed guidelines set by the Finance Ministry.
On the appointment of agents, involvement of politicians and senior government servants in procurement, as well as the monopoly claims, he said the matter had been referred to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency and the Malaysia Competition Commission.
“So far, nothing out of the ordinary has been reported against the ministry. With this statement, we hope no parties will make any assumption or create confusion about the management of the procurement at the Health Ministry,” Dr Chen said in a statement on Friday in response to a Free Malaysia Today report.
The portal had reported that the whistleblower was disappointed with the lack of action over his revelation.
On June 13, The Star carried a report on the allegations, in which the whistleblower provided details of high-ranking officials and companies linked to politicians said to have control over billions of ringgit worth of medical supply to the Health Ministry.
A document sent to Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad claimed that there was bid-rigging of the open tender process, enabling the monopoly of medical supply.
In response to the ministry’s statement, the whistleblower provided updates, claiming that the top six tendering agents had, to date, been awarded RM5,934,877,317 or 92% of the RM6,435,975,589 total tender contracts value.
The whistleblower said with the latest information, the amount was now about RM6.44bil for the period of 2010 to 2018, and ongoing.
The tendering agent, who disagreed with the accusations, said this was not evidence of wrongdoing, explaining that the procurement procedures were transparent.
The agent, who is not one of the top six, said drug patent was the actual monopoly that was causing drug prices to be high – a legal monopoly according to the World Trade Organisation.
For some drugs, he said, direct negotiations were required as they were patented with no other companies producing them.