Open tender is a formal procedure by which quotations are invited from any manufacturer or manufacturer’s representative on a local or worldwide basis, subject to the terms and conditions specified in the tender invitation. In medicines procurement, the use of competitive international tendering has indisputable economic advantages and is one of the classic cost-containment mechanisms. According to the experiences of many countries, international tendering reduces prices by 40 to 50 %2.
2 Quick et al. Managing Drug Supply. Kumarian Press, 1997.
However, the economic advantages of this mechanism apply mainly to multi-source products where competition exists and not for patented medicines. Open tendering is not an option for medicines, such as the majority of ARVs, that are protected by patents.