Contraceptive companies, CMSS spar over tenders

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New Delhi: India’s flagship family planning programme is likely to get severely affected with the country’s central procurement agency (CPA), the Central Medical Services Society (CMSS), set up to streamline the procurement process, failing to source contraceptives in a timely manner.

The All India Condom Manufacturer Association, which includes various companies that manufacture condom brand Nirodh, has written to the government highlighting haphazard handling of procurement by CMSS after it cancelled the condom tenders twice in the current year.

“Lately, we have seen there has been a pattern of delays in procuring family planning contraceptives including condoms and hormonal contraceptives used by women. To our utter shock, the tenders have been cancelled after multiple rounds of negotiations,” said a senior executive with a company that supplies condoms and hormonal contraceptives for the ministry’s family planning programme.

When asked Rajesh Gupta, DG and CEO of CMSS said: “Everything is fine and there is no such issue.” A detailed email seeking clarification sent to the health ministry did not elicit any response.

In their letter to the health ministry last month, the condom manufacturer association highlighted the irregular floating of tenders and their cancellation at the final stage.

“The manufacturers of condoms, in particular, are facing severe problems of this haphazard handling of procurement by CMSS, which is not only a set back to the entire industry of condom manufacturing but is also adversely affecting the family welfare programme of the government,” it said,In the current year the condom tenders have already been cancelled twice. “This is leading to severe setbacks, particularly to small-scale manufacturers. Due to such ad hoc handling of tender work, most of the established condom manufacturers like TTK, JK Ansel, etc. have almost refrained from participating in the condom tenders of CMSS,” the letter further said.The social marketing organisations (SMO), which buy condoms from the ministry to supply them in the hinterland to boost its usage, say that they are already facing shortages and in some areas the family planning programme has been disrupted.

“We had asked for 20 million pieces of condoms in May and are still waiting for the supplies. We don’t have enough inventory and have already written to the government for getting the supplies,” said a chief manager with a non-government organisation.

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