Last week, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said Pharmaniaga Bhd’s concession to distribute drugs and medical supplies will end on Nov 30, and that there would be no concessionaire for logistics and distribution services any more. An open tender system will be implemented instead.
But to ensure that medical supplies and health services are not disrupted, Pharmaniaga’s concession will be extended temporarily until the Cabinet decides on the mechanism to manage the open tender.
While the move to remove concessionaires is laudable, efforts should also be made to ensure that the open tender system that is being implemented does not favour cronies or those close to the government of the day. It must be a fair and transparent process that rightly rewards the best bid.
Execution is key in a critical sector like healthcare.
It is worth noting that as the incumbent, Pharmaniaga may have the upper hand and emerge as the winner of the tender.
So, the bidding process must be truly open with proper disclosure of the basis on which the winner was chosen. In other words, it must stand up to public scrutiny.