He issued the directions after meeting with Indian High Commissioner to PNG, H.E. Shri S. Imbasekar, yesterday, Tuesday January 4, 2021.
High Commissioner Imbasekar impressed upon Marape that India was the cheapest supplier of generic drugs recognised by the WHO to the world.
He said India could supply drugs to PNG on a government-to-government basis at a fraction of the costs PNG was currently paying to pharmaceutical companies, and save a lot of money.
“My Government made a deliberate policy to do a holistic overhaul of the existing drug procurement system when we came into office in 2019.
“However, a three-year drug procurement contract issued by the former government was already in place and we have had to live through that.
“That contract has been the subject of much controversy and riddled with allegations of corruption, including Public Accounts Committee inquiries in 2014 and 2019.
“This year, as we move out of the contract period, we will move into a new drug-procurement system my Government will design.”
Prime Minister Marape added that lives of the people of PNG could no longer be endangered with an ineffective drug procurement system.
“We want quality drugs to be readily available without middlemen. This means straight to the Health Department from a trusted source. I have directed the Health Department to start procuring drugs from manufacturers like those in India.
“India is a renowned pharmaceutical nation that the world relies on. The Government, working with WHO and the Medical Pharmaceutical Board, will enter into this new direct drug-procurement system with India if all requirements are met."