NON-ACADEMIC employees and University officials have exceeded their medicine benefits by nearly P800,000, prompting the Vice-Rector for Finance to order a strict monitoring at the hospital pharmacy.

A memorandum issued by Vice-Rector for Finance Fr. Manuel Roux, O.P. last January 7 said employees and officials who go over the annual cap of P1,000 will have to pay for the excess amount in cash, otherwise, it will be deducted from their salaries without prior notice.

“Excess medicines,” as of the May 31, 2007 audit, have ballooned to P796, 683, officials said.

Leticia Timbol, head cashier of the Treasurer’s Office, said there was some laxity with regard to the medicine benefits. “Before, the uncollected ‘excess medicines’ only amounted into small quantities, so we did not really feel the need to worry. However, it was only at present that it reached a staggering amount,” Timbol added. “We really had to take action.”

The procedure was that officials and employees first get a prescription from the UST Health Service. Nonacademic employees get approval from the human resource department while officials go straight to the Treasurer’s Office.

“In truth, we don’t really know the total cost of the medicines when we approve the prescriptions,” Timbol explained.

Emilia Reyes, supervisor of the UST Hospital Pharmacy, pointed out that the limit was known to everybody including the Treasurer’s Office even before the memorandum came out.

“Before, we have to rebuke employees who try to purchase beyond the limit given, but they tell us off by saying that it was for the Treasurer’s office to decide, not us,” she said.

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Now that a memorandum enforcing the cap on medicine benefits has been released, the Pharmacy makes it a point to show a copy to UST employees.

“Either they deal with it through the Treasurer’s office or pay the excess medicines in cash. We have become extra strict now,” Reyes said.

However, some employees who badly need the medicines but whose salaries are not enough to cover the expense will be spared from the limit, provided they justify their cases to the Dominican fathers.

“These people make an appeal to the fathers and end up going beyond the P1000 limit… But it has to be properly arranged. There is a chance it will be deducted from their retirement pay,” Timbol told the Varsitarian.

Timbol added that the benefit is non-transferable. “Even the official’s spouse and children are not entitled to the benefit. It is strictly for personal use.”

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