Doctors blamed for ATKs delay

Doctors blamed for ATKs delay

Government Pharmaceutical Organisation(GPO) director Dr Witoon Danwibul has petitioned the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) against two doctors for allegedly stalling the GPO's procurement of 8.5 million sets of Covid-19 antigen test kits (ATK), according to a source.

The doctors named in the petition were Dr Kriengsak Vacharanukulkieti, chairman of the National Health Security Office (NHSO) working group responsible for specifying rates of health services provided under the office's universal health coverage scheme, and Dr Arak Wongworachat, a member of the group. The GPO director accused the doctors of violating the 1999 Act on offences related to state organisation bidding by manipulating the GPO's bidding for an ATK supplier, said the source.

The NHSO wanted to procure the ATKs for public distribution, but since it lacks procurement authority, the NHSO asked Rajavithi Hospital to perform the task on its behalf. The hospital later forwarded the NHSO's request to the GPO, said the source.

Dr Arak allegedly threatened Dr Witoon in a phone call that if the GPO selected the Chinese-made Lepu ATK over two other choices he had recommended, he would oppose the GPO's bidding, the source said. Dr Arak allegedly suggested the GPO should choose the Korean-made Standard Q Covid-19 Ag Home Test by SD Biosensor Inc or Abbott Laboratories' at-home Covid-19 test kit, said the source.

After the GPO awarded the ATK supply contract to World Medical Alliance (Thailand) Co, which represented Ostland Capital Co, on Aug 7, the two doctors allegedly continued pushing for the Standard Q test kit, supplied by MP Group (Thailand) Co. They continued pressing Dr Witoon to give up a plan to sign the contract with the bid winner, said the source.

Their alleged action against the bidding resulted in delays in the procurement of the ATKs that should have been delivered at the start of August, the source added.

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