Oct 20, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Ministry of Health has decided to locally manufacture the essential drugs needed by the government hospitals.
The Ministry will submit a proposal, seeking approval to manufacture drugs locally, to the Cabinet at the next weekly meeting, a Ministry official said.
During a meeting with the Health Minister Maithreepala Sirisena local drug manufacturers have put forward a proposal to manufacture 49 essential drugs locally.
The Minister has directed the officials to prepare a cabinet paper to purchase drugs from the domestic manufacturers uninterruptedly for a five-year period. A five-member Committee will be appointed for the purpose.
Currently, 900 types of medicines are needed for local hospitals and under the first phase of the proposed program 100 drugs would be purchased from local manufacturers, the Director of the National Drugs Authority, Dr. Hemantha Beneragama said.
The Minister has noted that even though about 200 varieties of drugs are being produced in the country that amount is not sufficient to meet the country's demand.
Sri Lanka has received funding from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to expand the production capacity at the state-owned drug manufacturer, State Pharmaceutical Drugs Manufacturing Corporation (SPMC).
Under the grant modern machinery will be installed to locally manufacture drugs to alleviate the drug shortages in state hospitals.
The SPMC produces 59 varieties of tablets, capsules and oral suspension and the facility produces 43 types of western drugs needed for local hospitals. It manufactures Sri Lanka's entire annual Paracetamol (acetaminophen) requirement of 572 million tablets. However, the corporation is not able to supply the annual requirement of the drugs due to insufficient capacity.