TWO provincial hospitals kept unclassified and dangerous drugs, some with expiry dates of as far back as 1995, the Auditor-General’s Office has revealed.
The expired drugs — which were being held in reserve at Masvingo Provincial Hospital — had expired between 1995 and 2019, while Marondera Provincial Hospital did not take heed of a directive to dispose of expired drugs worth $ 7 140 in 2019.
In addition to putting the lives of patients at risk, the hospitals allowed the drugs to expire at a time patients were in need of them.
According to Auditor-General Mrs Mildred Chiri’s report for the financial year ended December 31, 2019 on Appropriation Accounts and Fund Accounts, which was recently tabled in Parliament, the two hospitals breached Section 90 of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act.
The Act requires disposal of all obsolete, surplus and unserviceable assets.
Expired medicines are supposed to be destroyed “twice a year in normal circumstances”, with the quantities expected to be minimal.
“The report notes that keeping the expired drugs in storage opened loopholes for theft and corruption.
“Failure to dispose of the dangerous drugs and expired drugs may result
in pilferage which pose danger to the public.
“Also storing expired drugs deprives the pharmacy of the much-needed storage space,” adds the report.
Mrs Chiri said she was not provided with application letters for disposal of the expired drugs.
“It was also not clear whether the hospital had applied for such authority after the board of survey was conducted.
“Marondera Provincial Hospital was granted authority to dispose of expired drugs worth $7 140 on July 26, 2019.
“However, as at the time of my audit, the expired drugs were still at the hospital.”
The report recommended that the Ministry of Health and Child Care should engage the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe for the board of survey to be conducted.
“Management should make efforts to have the expired drugs destroyed as soon as authority has been granted.”