‘Unscrupulous elements are recycling HIV test kits’
Raising the alarm in a statement made available to The Guardian in Lagos recently, Managing Director of Acouns Nigeria Limited, Mrs.Adunni Udu, stated that her efforts to curb the ugly practice through several letters to the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) and World Bank have not yielded the expected result.
According to Udu, the phenomenon is infringing on the sole right of her company to exclusively distribute“ Alere Determine HIV Test Kit” in Nigeria, adding that something urgent needs to be done to arrest the ugly phenomenon.
Udu said: “We write to bring to your attention the persistent and unscrupulous recycling, sales and transactions of the Determine HIV Test Kit by unauthorised persons at the different parts of the country especially the States Agency for the Control of AIDS (SACA’s).
“This singular act which we had severally made attempts to curb by writing series of letters and protests to different authorities for instance, the letter dated October 10, 2013 to Katsina State SACA, Director General of NACA and Director General of Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP), October 10, 2013 to The Country Director World Bank, March 17, 2014 to The Country Director World Bank, letter dated January 24, 2014 to Bauchi State SACA, letter dated September 29, 2014 to the Executive Governor of Lagos State which was also drawn to the attention of the Commissioner of Health Lagos State, has caused us severe hardship both in our sales as well as ability to keep up with the necessary monitoring and reporting of the utilization and performance of the product in our assigned territory (Nigeria).
“All of the above mentioned letters were protests and objections for wrongful award of contracts for the supply of Determine HIV Test Kits. All the SACAs has been awarding the supply of Determine HIV Test kits to other companies that sourced the product from local markets, a hop for stolen or pilfered items in violation of the NACA/BPP guidelines on pre-qualification for the procurement of HIV Test Kits and of which the potency of the products supplied cannot be guaranteed. Theses unscrupulous elements buy these kits at very ridiculously prices that are not even up to the actual manufacturers price itself. This poses a question, which is; where do these companies involved in this get these products, since they are neither distributors nor sub-distributors and they do not buy from us either? We have found through investigation that these products are either stolen or pilfered products from Federal Government warehouses or other countries’ warehouses. We can also not rule out the fact that these kits may have made their way through some of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) implementing Partners sites in the country to the open market for resale.
Udu continued: “Earlier in the month of May 2015, the Ondo State Agency for the Control of Aids published an invitation for bids for the procurement of HIV Test Kits. We responded to this invitation, and submitted our bid alongside with a biomedical company who is also a distributor of the second line test Kit, and others who are neither distributors nor sub-distributors to any of the HIV Test Kit manufacturers.