System for electronic tenders for medicines

In the period 2015-2017 as per assignment by the Ministry of Health KONTRAX has developed Unified national platform for trade with medicinal products for the needs of the hospitals in Bulgaria. The system covers the processes related to carrying out of public procurements for purchase of medicinal products. It ensures replacement of the traditional model for procurements awarding according to PPA with fully electronic tenders.

Central agreement with suppliers is implemented for the entire quantities of a product for the specific period of time (1/ 2 year) needed for all state hospitals. This is carried out in way of procedure for central negotiations and agreement for purchase of medicinal products grouped by anatomical-therapeutical code (ATC) and international non-patent name (INN).

After completing the procedure of central agreement, part of which is the actual electronic tender with reverse bidding (eBay type), the companies ranked on first 2/2 places are selected for each medicine (depending on the decision of the Ministry of Health). After that the hospitals carry out min-procedures, again using the system, in order to select a supplier for the individual hospital for a given period of time. Only the participants under the procedure for central agreement may take part in these mini procedures as the price offered by them can be equal or less to the minimum price agreed under the central procedure.
The system is designed and realized with the idea for absolute continuity and maximum level of data protection, users control, time marker, use of certificates for qualified digital signature, and other measures against malicious actions.

The system is located in a cloud structure – Microsoft Azure with an option for scaling and dynamic loading. It is developed as three-layer web application. The user tier is carried out by ASP.NET MVC controller and View Models. The user interface is developed using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. The basis (business) logical tier includes the main logic, and for data processing and storing in database Microsoft Entity Framework and MS SQL Server 2012 are used. The three-tier software architecture is one of the best options for implementation of web based application client/ server type. The advantages included isolation of user interface from data and network operations, decreasing the network intensity, moving the performance of server processes on another server in case of dead-end situation. Software designing is easier – the individual tiers are created and performed on separate platforms. Only the server components are changed in case of change in business logic, and new functionality is easily added. The e-platform is integrated with the National Council system for prices and reimbursement of medicinal products, which the institution uses for its monthly updates of the Positive Medicines List.

The system operates flawlessly with at least 5000 users simultaneously with option for increasing the number to 10 000, if needed. It is designed in way as to allow expanding in future and to cover the medical products and apparatuses, as well as to be used for purchase of medicinal products by Ministry of Health. This will result in better efficiency of public funds spent by the health system – savings from scale and transparency in cases of purchase of very expensive equipment and consumables The system can be integrated with the software currently used in pharmacies and hospitals in order to ease the work in regard to monitoring the warehouse availability, generation of automatic orders to medicinal product traders, requests for new quantities in the system when the quantities as per existing contracts are spent, etc.