Recent news articles regarding the allegations that the Government Employees Medical Scheme (GEMS) awarded a vitamin contract to Activo Health, a subsidiary of AfroCentric, has prompted renewed media activity with the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS) announcing to the media that it has decided to lodge a section 43 enquiry on the reported allegations and with GEMS responding in a press release issued today.

The CMS announced in its statement that it only became aware of the allegations after reading these news articles as there we no complaints or allegations laid through a tip-off about this incident: “Now that the CMS is aware of the incident, it has decided to lodge a section 43 enquiry on the reported allegations against GEMS and, as such,” the statement adds, “it cannot comment on the specifics to avoid pre-empting the outcome of the enquiry.”

Responding to the CMS announcement, GEMS notes in today’s statement that due to the “negative publicity and allegations” on its multivitamin programme, the scheme deems it necessary to communicate while respecting that a regulator enquiry is underway.

“The current media reports are unfortunate and damaging as they are perpetuating misinformation in the public around the GEMS multivitamins wellness programme. GEMS wants to categorically state that there is no R600m multivitamin contract as the media have made claims,” says GEMS principal officer, Dr Stanley Moloabi,

With due regard to the Scheme Rules on funding of vitamins, it was decided by the GEMS Board that the scheme would utilise the provision of Ex Gratia to fund the supply of these multivitamins to beneficiaries: “The process followed must comply with both our internal processes and the Medical Schemes Act, as GEMS is regulated by the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS), and not by the PFMA as incorrectly reported in the media,” Moloabi adds.

“The aim of the enquiry and any subsequent processes,” the CMS states, “is to get to the bottom of this and ensure that all the parties that are regulated by the CMS are compliant with the Medical Schemes Act (131 of 1998).”

At the appropriate time, it concludes, it will issue the findings of the enquiry and address any related questions from stakeholders.

SOURCE: CMS Media Release; GEMS Press Release