Social Security hospital investigates $3 million loss of medical supplies

Jan 30, 2020 | 7 comments

The director of Cuenca’s José Carrasco Artega Social Security Hospital says that more than $3 million dollars of medical supplies, mostly medicine, has been lost due to poor inventory management and theft.

An employee checks medications in an IESS hospital storeroom.

“We are in the process of centralizing and reorganizing our inventory process to avoid future losses to the IESS system,” José Delgado said at a Wednesday news conference. He explained that much of the loss was the result of medications being poorly managed in various hospital storage areas. “We have more than 86 locations where medication is stored and due to lack of oversight much it has expired and must now be discarded,” he said. “In the future, all medication will be consolidated in a central dispensary.” He added that because of a poor inventory system, the hospital was ordering new medicine without knowing that the same medicine was already in stock.

In addition to inventory problems, Delgado said the hospital has been the victim of large-scale theft. In one case, he said, thousands of dollars of medicine was found hidden in the ceiling of a storeroom. “Several employees have been terminated as a result of our investigation and the prosecutor’s office has assumed those cases.”

Delgado estimates that total losses due to expired medicines amount to $2.7 million while loses from theft may account for an additional $400,000.

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