22 Mar 2011

Vanuatu health boss suspended over drugs shortage

2:03 pm on 22 March 2011

The director general of the Vanuatu ministry of health, Marc Bebe, has been suspended following concerns at a recent drugs shortage at the national pharmacy.

An official for the health minister, Don Ken, says Mr Bebe was suspended two weeks ago.

The shortage forced the country's main hospital, Port Vila Central Hospital, to treat only emergency cases and some of the country's health centres had to close their doors late last year.

The shortage has since been overcome after the intervention of donor countries, including Israel.

The ministry of health reported last year the drugs shortage was due to the government's failure to clear outstanding bills with its drug supplier in Australia.

The company was reportedly owed more than 600,000 US dollars.

A commission of inquiry has been set up by the government into the drugs shortage.