[COVID-19] The pandemic has not benefited Quebec suppliers much since 2021

Few suppliers have made significant use of over-the-counter contracts during a health emergency. In addition to the impressive rapid test contract awarded to Investissements Gest-E, it is the American manufacturer Cardinal Health that has established itself as a major supplier of personal protective equipment in the health sector since 2021, at the expense of companies here.

US company Cardinal Health has taken over the Quebec market for personal protective equipment (PPE) – which includes gloves, gowns and masks – as of 2021, a few months after the creation of the State Procurement Center (CAG). This organization has been coordinating all government procurement since September 2020.

The medical equipment giant — which makes the vast majority of its products in China — has secured 31 contracts worth a total of $178.9 million since the start of 2021, according to data released Wednesday by the Department of Health and Human Services (MSSS). These agreements come in addition to the 2020 agreements worth $22.8 million.

In fact, Investissements Gest-E, also known as Medsup, has taken advantage of Quebec’s health context the most with a massive $433 million over-the-counter contract it received to deliver the tests. Rapid antigens for COVID-19. It was in January 2022, during the wave of the Omicron variant, when Quebec lacked these tests.

Although manufacturers of personal protective equipment in Quebec were prized by the government at the start of the pandemic, they were also excluded from contracts awarded during this period. Such is the case of Supermax Healthcare, a manufacturer of medical sanitizers, gowns and masks in Longueuil.

The company, which secured contracts worth $330 million in the first six months of the pandemic, has not signed any new agreement with the ministry since the fall of 2020. Data from MSSS surprises – even troubles – Supermax owner and vice president, Sylvain Bergeron: “The government reiterates: Always that you have to buy from Quebec and there, it’s an American company [qui va chercher la part du lion]. »

“I think it would have bothered me less if it had been ADM Medicom [un concurrent québécois] Who has these contracts.” Headquartered in Pointe-Claire, AMD Medicom has won nearly thirty contracts totaling 450 million. Of that number, very few agreements have been concluded after 2020.

“I have to admit I wonder. We had the option right for 2021 to hold 120 million mask units. The Quebec government’s acquisition department told us they wouldn’t take advantage of that right because they had a lot of this equipment. And there we see what happens. It’s frustrating.”

Since then, he recalls, in particular, his company poured $10 million into the Longueuil plant last year to increase production. In June 2021, AMD Medicom announced an investment of $39 million to establish a new plant to produce a material used to make surgical and pediatric masks as well as N95 respirators.

shrinkage

Among the suppliers that have received the largest sums since 2021 is 24/7 Health Care Expertise, a health care and vaccination services company, which has secured nearly $166 million in contracts. Marketing agency Cossette took fourth place in the rankings, having secured a $105 million deal earlier this year for “media purchases related to advertising campaigns related to COVID-19.”

More than $40 million has also been awarded to the Garda SENC Security Group for on-the-job surveillance at certain hospitals and the deployment of security guards “for COVID-19 needs,” the report can read. Detailed from MSSS.

The McGill University Health Center also entered into a $34,375 contract to purchase “chocolate, sugar, sweeteners and sweets.”

Of all the contracts issued since the beginning of the pandemic, the vast majority (61%) are for the supply of goods. There are 623 technical service contracts (13%), 786 professional services contracts (17%), and 318 construction contracts (7%).

With Francois Carpin

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