Jan 02, Colombo: The Minister of Health Dr. Keheliya Rambukwella said that the shortage of drugs will be reduced to zero in the first quarter of this year.
He said the President has already allocated a large amount of money to the Ministry of Health, and the Indian loan aid as well as many international organizations including the Asian Development Bank are providing the necessary support to resolve the essential medicines shortage problem in the country.
Addressing a press conference held yesterday (01) in Kandy, the Minister said some people in the country are waiting for patients to die in hospitals without medicine so they can turn it to their political advantage.
“They always try to frustrate drug importers and disrupt the Health Ministry's drug import program. When tenders were called to import 183 types of essential medicines, only three companies came forward. They also withdrew from the process after a month.”
He said the Ministry of Health has to pay 15 billion rupees to pharmaceutical companies and 16 billion rupees to two state banks.
“When the country is told this truth, people like Pubudu Jagoda of Frontline Socialist Party say that, the minister will use various tricks to scare the pharmaceutical import companies. I have never tried to hide the truth.”
Of the 300 billion rupees allocated to the Ministry of Health from the money received as Indian loan aid, only 104 billion has been used so far.
The Minister said after the period given to buy the medicines from India using the rest of the money ended on November 30, he intervened and got it extended it till 30th of December. However, due to the need to extend it once again, he went to India and submitted a proper plan and got the time extended till March.