Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena today instructed Health Secretary Nihal Jayathilake to lodge a complaint with the CID to find the truth behind the alleged contaminated bottles of saline from government hospitals.
This followed a health sector trade union allegation that contaminated saline had been given to dengue patients at government hospitals, putting their lives at risk. The trade union also alleged that there was the danger of the entire stock of saline - Dextran 40 imported from Thailand for dengue patients may have been contaminated.
The trade union showing a bottle of Dextran 40 saline, displayed particles found in the bottle saying it was contaminated and the lives of dengue patients were at risk if given the saline.
Addressing a news briefing at the Health Education Bureau today, Director Medical Supplies Division, Dr. Kamal Jayasinghe, while dismissing the allegations said Dextran 40 saline had to be stored under the temperature of 25 degrees Fahrenheit and if the temperature went up there was the possibility of the glucose contained in the bottle to become clotted.
“Anyone can expose a bottle of Dextran 40 to the sun and make the particles gather inside the bottle. However, we have instructed hospital directors not to give Dextran 40 to Dengue patients if they found particles inside,” Dr. Jayasinghe said.
Dr. Hemantha Benaragama, Director National Drugs Quality Assurance Authority Chairman charged that the allegations were unfounded or due to lack of knowledge, but it could also be for the purpose of sabotaging the Dengue control programme.
He added that the particular company that won the tender to export Dextran 40 to Sri Lanka was the only company that produced the saline. The tender was also won by this Thai company for saline supply as that company was the only bidder. (Sandun A. Jayasekera)