The Government Medical Officers' Association (GMOA) yesterday suggested establishing a laboratory which has the capability to check the quality of the drugs imported into the country.
Speaking at the weekly media briefing GMOA Secretary Dr Haritha Aluthge said the quality had been an issue throughout.
"If we do not have the assurance of the quality of the drugs, there would be detrimental issues to the patients' health. The GMOA had earlier elaborated the prevailing drugs issue in the country. This drug shortage had continued even during the time under former Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne," Dr Aluthge said.
"During that time the GMOA had pointed out reasons caused to the drug shortage but the drug mafia is still functioning inside the Health Ministry," he said.
However, the present Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi had taken steps to overcome these issues but the measures have not come up to the expected standard, he said.
"The previous government used to buy particular drugs under the 'Buy Back Agreement' which had taken place between the drug companies for a period of ten years," he said.
Therefore, the GMOA had requested the present Health Minster to cancel the agreement with immediate effect and operate under an open market system where competitors can make their bids.
The Minister had taken steps to suspend a company which was affiliated to the former health minister and used to import cancer drugs which had been banned.
"Still there are loopholes in the law and this suspended company is still searching for opportunities to function again," he said.
The present government should properly investigate the financial losses to the country which had occurred during the period under the previous Health Minister and should take necessary measures to find out the persons who were involved and to reimburse the losses that had incurred, the doctor said. (Chaturanga Samarawickrama)