Bir's radiotherapy machine tender call said to be illegal

Published On: July 6, 2017 12:20 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, July 6: Bir Hospital's tender call for the purchase a radiotherapy machine costing about US$ 4.1 million is said to be in violation of regulations.

According to the Procurement Act, the description of goods, construction works and services tendered for  "shall be prepared on the basis of relevant objective technical and quality characteristics and functions of such goods, construction works or services”.

However, Bir Hospital simply copied the specifications mentioned in its last bidding process, which incidently was cancelled about three months ago.

According to Sub-Sections (1) and (2) of the Act, a particular brand, trademark, name, patent, design, type, origin or producer name cannot be mentioned while preparing the tender documents unless there exists no other way of mentioning clearly and in an intelligible manner the characteristics of the goods, construction works or services sought.

If there is no other way than such mentioning of a particular brand, trademark, name, patent, design, type, origin or producer name,  the words “equivalent to” shouild be mentioned thereafter, according to the regulations.

The tender that Bir called mentioned a Tomo Therapy machine in its specifications, which has discouraged other companies from applying for the bidding process. The TomoTherapy machine is specifically manufactured by Accuray Inc. in the US.

The hospital administration did not provide any details about the winner of the tender bid. “We opened the bid documents and sealed them again. We have to keep it confidential,” said Bhagwati Thapaliya, chief of procurement division at Bir.

The tender bid was opened yesterday (Tuesday) and the Nepali firm Hospitech, the only applicant, was selected, according to Bir sources. However, the tender amount is yet to be disclosed.

It is  common practice for devices manufactured outside  Nepal to be tendered through international competitive bidding (ICB). ICB was followed when the hospital was planning to purchase a Cobalt 60 machine (which costs less than Rs 130 million) in November. 

The cost of about US$ 4.1 million for the US-made Tomo Therapy machine is said to be enough for the procurement of at least three Cobalt-60 radio therapy machines.

Experts in such matters say the  price quoted for the Tomo Theraphy was intended to accomodate commissions. “The money is provided in different ways to the individuals involved,”  said a source requesting anonymity. 

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