Government tenders can have a direct effect on the public (Time to look into boosting accountability in govt tenders; March 30).
In the procurement of pharmaceutical drugs by the Ministry of Health especially, I hope it is not based solely on how low a bid is.
There are other important considerations, such as the elderly folk who use the drugs.
For instance, I have seen seniors struggling to eject big tablets out of a blister pack. A certain amount of pressure needs to be applied. Could the tablets have come in more elderly-friendly packaging?
The requisition of some drugs are also limited to pills of certain strengths, or dosage forms. So a tablet may need to be cut into two with a pill cutter because the one supplied is double in strength to what is prescribed. The process of cutting the tablet can cause contamination.
In addition, elderly patients who are used to taking tablets of a certain colour may be taken aback when they are suddenly prescribed the same drug in a different colour or shape. They may think they were given the wrong drug and blame the doctor for negligence.
Consideration must also be given to those with arthritic hands, hence bottles with easy-to-open screw caps or flip caps would be a big help.
I hope the procurement department for drugs will factor in the above and not just zoom in on the lowest bid.
Ronald Lee Yew Kee