July 24, Colombo: Even during the absence of Indian credit support, 80% of the drugs imported into the country were imported from India, officials of the Ministry of Health told the Ministerial Consultative Committee on Health.
Officials of the Ministry of Health made this disclosure when Member of Parliament Sanjeewa Edirimanna raised a question regarding the medicines during the Ministerial Consultative Committee on Health meeting held recently in Parliament under the chairmanship of Minister of Health Dr. Keheliya Rambukwella.
The officials responding to the Ministerial Consultative Committee member, pointed out that they are using the medicine brought under Indian loan assistance recently.
Further commenting on this, the officials pointed out that if the necessary departments to import medicines did not take steps to import medicines, people would die due to lack of medicines.
Expressing his views, Minister Rambukwella pointed out that at the time of the incident in Peradeniya Hospital, where a young woman died after receiving an injectable dose of Ceftriaxone, 12 patients in the same ward had been given the same medicine. He also pointed out that the same medicine had been given to 167,000 people this year. Also, 230,000 hospitals have been given this medicine.
The Minister also pointed out that this medicine is a medicine registered on October 21, 2013.
Also, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella stated that he rejects the term inferior drugs as there is no definition of inferior drugs.
Member of Parliament Prof. Tissa Vitharana asked whether Professor Senaka Bibile’s health policy is currently being implemented and Minister Rambukwella said that the same policy is still being followed.
Prof. Tissa Vitharana pointed out that this policy has provided for one-time tendering of medicines required for a whole year with the name of the medicine.
Apart from this, problems related to hospitals at the district level, vacancies related to officials, lack of medicines and equipment were also discussed at length.
Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa, Ministers of State Sisira Jayakody, Diana Gamage, Siripala Gamlath as well as Members of Parliament Samanpriya Herath, Tissa Kuttiarachi, Sahan Pradeep Withana, Dr. Gayashan Navananda, M. H. A. Halim and Sampath Athukorala and a group of officials participated.