News

Open contracting is saving lives in healthcare, helping the fight against corruption

30 Jan 2017

Open contracting is proving to be a positive force in healthcare procurement, reducing corruption and potentially saving lives around the world.

In several countries, including Honduras, Ukraine and Nigeria, corruption was significantly reduced throughout the healthcare procurement process following the implementation of open contracting, according to Transparency International’s Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare Programme.

The new report “Making the Case for Open Contracting in Healthcare Procurement”  examines the utility of open contracting in healthcare procurement. The process relies on governments to disclose procurement information to businesses and civil society improves stakeholders’ understanding of procurement processes increasing the integrity, fairness and efficiency of public contracting.

The research also shows that to successfully implement open contracting in healthcare, it is not enough for governments to just make data transparent. They also need to engage with affected communities, civil society and business to ensure the needs of users are incorporated in both the procurement and data disclosure process from the outset.

This research’s evidence suggests that the implementation of open contracting combats corruption, and importantly:

  • improves the healthcare procurement process
  • improves service quality and the functioning of health systems
  • helps to ensure that health systems are robust enough to withstand disease outbreaks such as Ebola or Zika
  • helps ensure competitive tendering processes, diversifying economies

Sophie Peresson, Director of TI’s Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare Programme said:

“Open contracting in healthcare reduces corruption, saves money, improves the business environment and allows for better monitoring of service delivery. Open contracting as an anti-corruption tool has the potential to dramatically improve procurement for health. Estimates suggest that up to one quarter of global spending on public medicine procurement is lost to corruption. 

Ensuring that funds are correctly invested has the potential to significantly improve service quality and health systems functioning, and can lead to better health outcomes overall. This is particularly important to ensure that national health systems are robust enough to withstand major disease outbreaks. We’ve seen how open contracting can save lives, there is no reason other countries should not follow suit.”

Gavin Hayman, Executive Director, Open Contracting Partnership said:

“The diagnosis is clear: a healthier procurement market leads to healthier patients and wealthier hospitals. More open public contracting and joined-up data helps keep a pulse on fair prices for medicines – as in Honduras – and making sure health centres remain in use and well equipped – as in Nigeria – and can save hospitals over 15 per cent of their purchases – as in Ukraine.”