A dispute between the Health Service Executive of the Republic of Ireland and IDIS Limited over a cancelled contract to supply the Republic’s unlicensed medicines continues.

Responding to Pharma Times UK News' coverage last week of allegations by IDIS, which specialises in supplying unlicensed medicines, the HSE’s spokesman issued a statement insisting that tendering procedure won by IDIS “was publicly advertised and run in accordance with national and EU requirements”.
Once IDIS had won the tender, however, the HSE statement insists that “during the process to finalise the contract terms, a fundamental misinterpretation emerged on behalf of IDIS Ltd, in relation to the tender specification. It has not been possible to satisfactorily resolve this matter with IDIS. Therefore, the HSE has terminated this procurement process and intends to re-tender for the provision of this service in the coming weeks”.

The statement went on to express the HSE’s regret “that IDIS Ltd would now attempt to cause unnecessary worry and anxiety to vulnerable Irish patients in relation to the continuity of supply of unlicensed medicines. The HSE has received confirmation from current suppliers on the availability of unlicensed medicines for individual patients needs through hospitals and community pharmacists and furthermore there is no risk of disruption to current service arrangements to Irish patients.

'No mismanagement'
The HSE’s statement “strongly refutes any assertion that the procurement process was mismanaged in any way, and has at all times acted professionally and equitably with all bidders in this process in accordance with HSE procurement policy. The HSE at all times dealt with all tender submission on the basis of the specification as set out in the tender documents and subsequent clarifications provided to all tenderers”.

However, IDIS managing director Natalie Douglas has insisted that the HSE “fundamentally changed the way in which it was prepared to enter into a contract from the criteria upon which the tender was originally based … IDIS continued to act in good faith making substantial investment in the systems and infrastructure necessary to provide the best possible service for hospitals and community pharmacists as the tender had been awarded. The sudden termination of the procurement process was both unexplained and surprising”.
Douglas added that to date, IDIS have received no explanation from the HSE about the sudden termination of the contract. She added that “the mismanagement and incompetence of the HSE will undoubtedly compromise the supply chain (for unlicensed medicines in the Republic) and be felt by patients themselves, potentially putting lives at risk”.

By Andy Cowper