Aug 24, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Minister of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Dr. Rajitha Senaratne today revealed plans to regulate prices of more types of medicines leading to the reduction of price of 5000 brands of medicine in the market by the end of this year.
Speaking at an event in in Hambantota today, the Minister disclosed that the government plans to regulate the prices of 27 more drugs taking up the number of price-regulated drugs to 100 which are sold under 5000 brand names in the market.
The 18th Convention of the Association of Drug Suppliers of the State Pharmaceutical Corporation took place under the patronage of Minister Rajitha Senaratne at the Shangri-La Hotel in Hambanthota today. About 300 local and foreign drug suppliers were present at the ceremony which was held for the 18th time. Officials of the corporation including its Chairman M. H. M. Rumie and Health Ministry Secretary Wasantha Perera were present on the occasion.
Expressing his views at the occasion, Minister Senaratne said the main issue being discussed today is the price of the drugs and the quality of the drugs and the sole objective of the State Pharmaceutical Corporation is to provide quality drugs to the government and the market at very reasonable prices.
Due to the regulation of prices of 48 pharmaceuticals in the first phase alone, the people of this country have saved Rs. 4.4 billion annually. Similarly, sales of quality medicines have increased by seven to eight times.
The Minister explained that the increasing use of quality medicine show that people who were prescribed the medications but avoided purchasing due to high costs, have used the medicines as prescribed after the prices were regulated.
"They used the medicines occasionally due to the cost. But today they use drugs properly. As such, the trade in high quality drugs has increased from 100,000 to one million. It shows that the general public has access to high quality drugs."
The Minister noted that in the second stage, the prices of 25 other drugs, including cancer drugs were regulated. Accordingly prices of 73 drugs were fixed. In the next stage the government plans to regulate prices of 27 more drugs increasing the categories to 100.
The Minister also pointed out that at the moment, the Drug Regulatory Authority does not allow the same drug to be registered with many brand names. The restrictions are imposed in order to provide quality drugs to the public.
Minister of State for Health Faisal Cassim, the Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Mrs. Vasantha Perera, the Chairman of the Pharmaceutical Corporation Dr. MHM Rumie, the Managing Director of the State Pharmaceutical Corporation Dr. MYK Wilfred, officials of the State Pharmaceutical Corporation, and officials of the Ministry of Health were also present at the occasion.