State Pharmaceutical Corporation (SPC) has saved at least Rs.1.1 billion during 2020, due to the avoidance of emergency drug purchases, a common practice widely used by the state-owned manufacturer and distributor of medicinal drugs.
According to sources, until the beginning of 2020, emergency drug purchases had been the default way for SPC to procure drugs from private parties, which had become a major source of corruption.
But this practice was discontinued with the appointment of the new SPC management, as the majority procurements of drugs, except for a few, were conducted through the accepted tender procedure.
One occasion, when the request came to procure up to 300 drugs via emergency means, the new management has stood its ground saying that it couldn’t do so violating the protocols, when the same could be procured via the tender process.
In that instance, only 40 drugs, out of 300, were allowed to come through emergency purchases and none thereafter have been procured outside the tender process, leading to this massive cost saving.
SPC earlier indicated that it would expand the local manufacturing of medicinal drugs in response to the supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic last year while it plans adding 100 new drug stores within the retail outlets of Sathosa and Co-op Supermarkets around the country.
SPC currently has only 44 outlets titled ‘Rajya Osu Sala’, confined mainly to city limits. During the lockdowns, SPC collaborated with Sri Lanka Post to deliver drugs to households.