The Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) was put in the spotlight on Tuesday as CEO Andrew Mulwa was called in to address the issue of expired drugs in the agency’s inventory.
Dr. Mulwa was also summoned before the Public Investments Committee on Social Services Administration and Agriculture to provide explanations for irregularities found in the agency’s financial reports.
An audit by the Auditor General revealed that KEMSA was still holding expired and damaged drugs worth Sh150 million. The expired drugs are thus unsellable having been initially acquired during the 2017/2018 financial year.
Additionally, the report accused KEMSA of procuring a significant quantity of drugs with looming expiration dates.
The KEMSA boss also faced questions regarding the accuracy and validity of net sales amounting to Ksh7 million during the period under review.
Referencing the Audit report, Emmanuel Wangwe, the MP for Navakholo, raised concerns about the proper disposal of the expired drugs.
In response, KEMSA’s acting CEO attributed the damage to changes in the country’s governance structure.
“KEMSA’s business model operates on a ‘Pull’ system. This is where counties, public health facilities, and faith-based institutions determine their requirements and make purchases accordingly,” Dr. Mulwa stated.
“After devolution, the entire public health supply chain transitioned from a ‘PUSH’ to a ‘PULL’ system. As a result, certain commodities attracted little or no demand from these facilities. Over time, these commodities exceeded their shelf life,” he added.
The report also shed light on KEMSA’s excessive workforce, revealing that the authority employed more individuals than the approved staffing requirement.
During the period under review, KEMSA had a total of 759 employees. This figure surpassed the recommended 341, leading to overspending and an inflated wage bill.
Additionally, concerns were raised about board meetings and the related allowances, with audit minutes not being provided. There were also concerns and issues regarding land and vehicle ownership and insurance expenses.
Officials from KEMSA are scheduled to appear before the committee for further inquiries later in September.