Despite speculations that Sri Lanka would plunge into a drug shortage in about two months, the Treasury has released adequate funds enabling commercial banks to open Letters of Credit (LCs) in a bid to overcome the impending drug shortage.
Dr. R. M. Saman Kusumsiri Ratnayake, Secretary to the State Ministry of Drug Production, Supply and Regulation told the Daily Mirror that relevant drug items would be delivered in due course in accordance with the priority list of drugs which they prepared given the critical forex crisis.
“The priority list of drugs was drafted as there was an urgent need of importing multiple drug items with immediate effect. Initially, LCs for four consignments of drugs worth USD 5 million were opened. Subsequently, the Treasury has given further directive to relevant commercial banks to open LCs so that more drug items can be purchased,” he pointed out.
Accordingly, Dr Ratnayake said LCs for 30 drug items worth nearly USD 8.5 million, which needed to be imported with immediate effect, had been opened and would be delivered to the country in two or three weeks.
“We have submitted a list of drugs required until the month of April and we will receive relevant drugs in due course,” he stated.
“The drugs are mainly imported from China and India while Germany is also one of the countries from where several drug items are imported. 80 percent of the drugs is imported from India,” Dr Ratnayake added. (Sheain Fernandopulle)