COA flags DOH over P95.15M expired, near-expiry drugs, medical supplies


State auditors have flagged the Department of Health (DOH) over P95.15 million worth of expired or near-expiry drugs, medicines, and medical supplies, which they described as a “recurring problem of the DOH.”

In its 2020 audit, the Commission on Audit (COA) found P6.61 million worth of expired drugs and medicines, P20.06 million worth of near-expiry drugs, medicines, and medical supplies, and P69.01 million worth of overstocked, slow-moving, or idle inventories.

State auditors said the problem was exacerbated by a “breakdown” of the inventory management system, including “deficient procurement planning, poor distribution and monitoring systems, and identified weakness in internal controls.”

“The presence of these overstocked, idle, and slow-moving inventory items evidences excessive spending as the procured items constitute volume far more than what the OUs (operating units) presently need,” COA said.

“While it cannot be denied that there are a lot of Filipinos in need of drugs and medicines, especially in the countryside, millions-worth of DOH inventories were allowed to expire, thereby constituting indiscriminate wastage of government funds/resources,” it added.

State auditors pointed out that provisions of the General Appropriations Act state that the inventory of supplies to be procured must not exceed an agency’s two-month requirement.

COA also noted that a DOH administrative order provides that the expiration dates of drugs, medicines, and other supplies should not be less than two years from the date of manufacture and not less than one and a half years from the date of delivery.


“Despite our observations and recommendations in previous years, it was found that various drugs, medicines and other types of inventories are nearly-expired or had already expired in DOH warehouses and OUs,” it said.

In response, the DOH vowed to take immediate action to resolve the issue through steps such as improving procurement planning, strengthening distribution and monitoring systems, and reviewing internal controls.

The DOH also said it would direct the Legal Service and Administration and Financial Management Team to conduct a thorough investigation and impose appropriate sanctions on erring officials.

COA said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III “is not precluded from directing the IAS (Internal Audit Service) or even creating a task force to conduct [a] fact-finding investigation.”

The COA report also flagged the DOH for several deficiencies in its utilization of P67.32 billion in COVID-19 funds. — BM, GMA News