Background: About 10% of the gross domestic product in Jordan is spent on health care, and almost one third of that is spent on pharmaceuticals. The public health sector in Jordan has 4 main governmental parties that purchase medicines independently through annual tenders (ie, the process of bidding, being awarded, ordering, paying for, and receiving drugs) issued in the generic (or scientific) name of the medicines or therapeutic groups. Double purchasing is a problem that leads to higher spending on drugs and poor availability of medicines throughout the year. To remedy this problem, a joint procurement process was established in Jordan in 2004 and went into practice in 2006.
Objective: The aim of this research was to assess the first year of purchasing pharmaceuticals in the public health sector in Jordan through the joint procurement process for the 4 participating parties in comparison with purchasing pharmaceuticals independently before the institution of joint procurement.
Methods: The first tender under the joint procurement process was issued in 2007 for antibiotics, anti-HIV medications, and antituberculosis agents, which represent 15% of the annual pharmaceutical public-sector purchases in Jordan. A research committee solicited lists of purchased quantities and final purchase prices of these pharmaceuticals obtained in 2006 by each participating group and in 2007 through the joint procurement process. The quantity-comparison method was used to compare the costs of drugs purchased in 2006 and 2007, and estimated cost savings were calculated for each product for each party for 2006 and 2007 under the assumption that the same quantities purchased by each participating party in 2006 would be purchased through joint procurement (prices of 2007).
Results: Purchasing through the joint procurement process achieved an estimated savings of 2.4%. This savings increased to 8.9% after excluding 1 item (a cephalosporin), the raw material price of which increased markedly in 2007 compared with 2006 because of an international shortage of raw materials.
Conclusion: Based on these initial findings, applying a joint procurement system for pharmaceuticals in the public health sector in Jordan has potential to reduce expenditures for the purchase of medicines and provide treatment continuously throughout the year.