A severe shortage of medicinal drugs in the country has put millions of patients in the lurch as the Treasury has failed to release funds to the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation (SPC) to import and purchase drugs, the Daily Mirror learns.
SPC Chairman Prof. S.D. Jayaratne said yesterday he would meet President Mahinda Rajapaksa who was also the Finance Minister to discuss this highly sensitive problem as he required at least Rs.10 billion to purchase and import essential drugs immediately.
“We distribute nearly 1,000 varieties of essential drugs to government hospitals and dispensaries through the Medical Supplies Division (MSD). Some 30 varieties of these drugs are purchased from the State Pharmaceuticals Manufacturing Corporation (SPMC). But the SPC is facing a huge financial crisis for want of funds and unable to call tenders and open LCs to import drugs from foreign suppliers right now. We are aware of a severe drug shortage in the country but we are helpless,” Prof. Jayaratne said and added that the last Treasury allocation to purchase drugs was Rs.5 billion and that was last year.
The 2013 budget has allocated Rs.28 billion to the Health Ministry to purchase drugs. The SPC purchases drugs from the open market when there is a shortage of drugs but even that cannot be done now because of financial constraints.
Prof. Jayarante said he met Finance and Planning Ministry Secretary P.B. Jayasundara several times to discuss this matter but nothing positive came out of the meeting.
MSD Director Dr. Kamal Jayasinghe said at the National Cancer Institute in Maharagama, the main cancer hospital in the country, is short of five essential drugs.
“Those drugs should be given to cancer patients for a long period and it is costly. We are struggling to find a way to replenish the drugs at state healthcare institutions as quickly as possible,” Dr. Jayasinghe said.
Meanwhile, Budget Director GeneralChandra Ekanayaka said the Treasury would take steps to release funds to the SPC to purchase drugs as early as possible.
“The Treasury has taken measures to facilitate the SPC to open LCs through state banks and release funds up to five billion rupees to purchase drugs from foreign suppliers for the time being. This is in addition to the budgetary allocation of Rs.28 billion for 2013,” she said.
The Daily Mirror is inundated with complaints from patients from many parts of the country that doctors at government hospitals prescribe drugs to be purchased from private pharmacies.( Sandun A. Jayasekera)
Hapuarachchi Wednesday, 17 April 2013 03:47
Reduce the Ministerial Expenses and fulfill the requirement for drugs.
Reply : 0 55
Silas Wednesday, 17 April 2013 04:13
But we have a new harbour and an airport!
Reply : 1 57
Jane Wednesday, 17 April 2013 04:25
Take all patients on a tour of new harbour, airport and stadium so they can be cured !
Reply : 0 52
Pt Wednesday, 17 April 2013 04:27
That Can't be done Ok, Alternate was to increasing the levy and put burden to the People..Haaaahaaaaaaaaaaa
Reply : 0 22
Thomas Wednesday, 17 April 2013 04:36
Stop all Tamashas, and Act now.
Reply : 1 28
leel Wednesday, 17 April 2013 11:18
yes they will act as you said. ha ha haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.
Reply : 0 3
GP Wednesday, 17 April 2013 06:17
No War! But allocation for defence ministry tops the list!
Reply : 1 19
SudhuPancha Wednesday, 17 April 2013 06:45
Reply : 1 12
watchman Wednesday, 17 April 2013 07:05
What did the Government say yesterday… Aid cut won’t affect Lanka ! Trust me I’m not joking !
Reply : 1 21
Roy Wednesday, 17 April 2013 11:08
MIHIN Pharmaceuticals coming soon.
Reply : 0 11
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