After thoroughly evaluating the bids, a special committee or tender board usually awards the tenders. It is important that a pharmacist or a person with technical knowledge of pharmaceutical products and its manufacture be a member of the tender board. As often the case, the determining factor for awarding a tender is price. Quality must be a more important consideration due to the fact that substandard products give rise to health hazards as well as financial losses to the procurement agency. While products of assured quality may be priced higher, they may be cheaper in the long run. Drugs are not ordinary commodities and should therefore be treated as such - purchase of cheaper pharmaceuticals without quality assurance invariably result in losses as follows: (1) expiration of stocks soon after delivery because of too short shelf-life; (2) substandard drugs and (3) health hazards.
Transparency must be maintained throughout the procurement cycle by following formal written procedures. Decisions should be based on explicit criteria. A list of all contracts awarded, specifying the supplier and price for each product, should be made available to all bidders.