By Chandeepa Wettasinghe
Omacx Healthcare (Pvt) Ltd, a leading pharmaceutical company in Sri Lanka set the record straight regarding the allegation levelled against the company in 2013 which was found to be baseless by the Health Ministry, as it has been holding back the company’s profitability.
Formed in 2012, the company was temporarily suspended in 2013 due to allegations that it had pilfered 4 vials of the Oncaspar drug Omacx Healthcare had sold to the Maharagama National Cancer Institute, and resold them to the Medicine Supplies Division of the Ministry of Health.
“This was a conspiracy by the competition due to the price gap. They were selling a vial of the drug for Rs.325,500 and when we came to the picture in 2012, were able to sell it for Rs 227,000 to the government in a tender process,” Omacx Healthcare Marketing Director Nuwan Fonseka said at a press conference. He added that Omacx had only maintained a 9-10 percent profit margin on the drug which is used in chemotherapy for children suffering from leukaemia.
He noted that there was only one competitor importing the drug in 2013, and the said competitor had imported hundreds of vials of the drug.
“Since they were unable to sell for the higher price, and they couldn’t lower the price without losing face, the stocks expired, and they faced millions in losses,” Fonseka added.
He claimed that this competitor had been using specific unsuspecting media outlets to spread false information saying that Omacx had been blacklisted, and forwarded the news clippings to foreign principals of Omacx, causing them to lose faith in the company.
“This mudslinging is not yet over. We still see newspaper articles showing up every couple of weeks,” Omacx Healthcare Consultant Miran Fernando said.
Fonseka expressed that Omacx finally had to speak up in order to continue its operations in a stable manner.
“There was a 3 member panel appointed by the courts which found the charges baseless, and President Maithripala Sirisena, the then Health Minister, accepted them as baseless. But we wanted to win in the court of public opinion as well,” he added.
Omacx Healthcare CEO Mevan Wijesinghe said the company in addition to the legal fees, had lost millions of rupees in revenue, and incurred losses for the past 2 years due to the smear campaigns.
“But, we’re slowly becoming profitable again with the import of 2 new groundbreaking drugs. One is from Havana, Cuba for diabetic foot ulcers,” he said.