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* Final draft legislation of Sri Lanka's National Drug Policy handed over to President
Mon, Mar 10, 2014, 07:50 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 10, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Minister of Health Maithripala Sirisena today presented the final draft of the National Drug Policy to President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Temple Trees.

The National Drug Policy which has been in the making for years will incorporate all the proposals set forth by the late Professor Senaka Bibile and it will be implemented by the end of next month or in early May Minister Sirisena said.

The drugs policy prepared by Professor Bibile in the 1970s to protect the public from being exploited by the drug manufacturers will officially be declared as the new National Drugs Policy.

Health Ministry Spokesperson D. Wanninayake said the bill was drafted amidst many obstacles posed especially by the drug mafia in the country.

The Health Ministry after formulating the policy had referred it to the Legal Draftsman's Department in 2011 to be drafted into a bill. The effort has finally come through after many years of difficulties and many debates.

The bill according to the Health Ministry is aimed at prescribing pharmaceuticals to patients under their generic names and preventing patients from being exploited by what the Ministry refers to as the 'drug mafia'.

Under the legislation, an independent body called National Drugs Regulatory Authority will be set up to implement the new drugs policy.

The new authority is expected to streamline the registration of pharmaceutical companies and the usage of high quality medicinal products.

According to the Health Minister, frauds and irregularities committed in the local drug sector could be prevented through the implementation of the policy.

The draft bill on national drugs policy will next be presented to the Cabinet either next month or in early May for approval, the Health Ministry says.

After the Cabinet approval the legislation will be presented for parliamentary approval.

Deputy Minister of Health Lalith Dissanayake, Director General of Health Services Palitha Mahipala and Secretary to the Ministry Dr. Nihal Jayathilaka were also present at the occasion.

(Photos by Nalin Hewapathirana)

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