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Nation

'Disposal of expired drugs must have DENR clearance'

- Eva Visperas -

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan, Philippines – Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said expired medicine as well as medical supplies can only be disposed of with a clearance from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

This, as more drugs have been dug up by a team formed by Gov. Amado Espino Jr. since Monday in the provincial capitol compound here.

Duque, who hails from this province, told Aksyon Radyo Pangasinan in a phone interview yesterday that the provincial government should really conduct a thorough investigation into the dumping of the drugs and medical supplies.

He said the disposal of expired medicine must be in accordance with pyrolysis standards wherein the materials are decomposed or burned or buried but with clearance from the DENR.

“The place where it will be dumped must be identified, away from public offices, unlike the one done in Pangasinan which was within the premises of government offices,” he said.

Duque said why the medicines expired and not distributed beforehand and the officials behind the dumping must be investigated.

Meanwhile, retired police colonel Paterno Orduña, who heads the fact-finding committee, said 26 kinds of medicine have been dug up in the 10-foot deep pit in the compound of the provincial engineering office.

“We will really ferret out the truth no matter who gets hurt,” he said.

The multimillion-peso drugs and other medical supplies were reportedly dumped in 2005 and 2007 during the incumbency of former governor Victor Agbayani.

Two separate letters from anonymous sources to Orduña and Espino detailing where the drugs were dumped led to the discovery.

For his part, Agbayani, who is now the second district congressman, said there is a need to establish facts about the matter.

“It is not unusual to have expired medicine and this happens to donated drugs,” he said in Filipino.

But he agreed that expired drugs must be properly disposed of, certified by authorities like the Commission on Audit.

“Most probably, these (drugs) were not purchased with provincial government funds,” he said.

AGBAYANI AKSYON RADYO PANGASINAN AMADO ESPINO JR. DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES DRUGS DUQUE EXPIRED HEALTH SECRETARY FRANCISCO DUQUE PANGASINAN PATERNO ORDU VICTOR AGBAYANI
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