BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN — The health ministry (MoH) has outsourced the management of its pharmaceutical supply chain and procurement of medical consumables to Royal Brunei Technical Services (RBTS) to ensure there are no medicine shortages.

The ministry on Monday signed a six-year contract with RBTS, which starts from October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2026.

RBTS is a government-linked company that specialises in supply chain management and regulation of controlled goods.

MoH acting assistant director (procurement) Mohammad Firdey Hazarullah Hj Md Zain said prices of some medical equipment have increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic but there is no significant disruption in getting medicines.

“We have seen prices [of some medical consumables] increase, especially with our small volume and competition with other countries, where their situations are more dire.

“However, we still get our medicines and medical consumables, so there are no problems,” he told The Scoop.

Brunei has gone 228 days without new local COVID-19 transmission, but there were 11 imported cases since May 6.

Mohammad Firdey said the plan to outsource the supply chain management of medicines and medical consumables have been in the works before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

The outsourcing deal aims to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of supply chain management in medicines and medical consumables such as face masks and gloves on a continuous basis.

He said RBTS will take over the management of procurement services, management of the State Medical Store and the delivery of medicines and medical supplies to hospitals, clinics and health centres in stages.

RBTS will also handle the maintenance of prescription drugs and ensure there is sufficient stock.

Present at the signing ceremony were health minister YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohammad Isham Hj Jaafar, and Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister of Finance and Economy YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah.