President wants interest of intermediaries in pharma sector disregarded

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa today instructed officials to disregard the interests of a handful of intermediaries in the pharmaceutical industry.

At a meeting with the Chairmen of the two State Pharmaceutical Corporations held at the Presidential Secretariat today, the President reviewed the production, import and distribution of pharmaceutical supplies.

Replying to a query by the President as to how the medical supply in the country is structured, the Chairman of State Pharmaceutical Corporation Consultant neurosurgeon Prasanna Gunasena said the supply is carried out through the state sector, private sector and imports by both sectors.

Currently, he said, there are 750 varieties of medicines in use in the country and at times there is a scarcity due to delays in the procurement process in respect of imports, the President’s Office said.

Directing that no room should be left for shortages in the supply of medicines in the country, the President noted the necessity of deciding the medicinal requirement of the coming year by studying the demand pattern of the previous year.

He said the production and supply of pharmaceutical items should be streamlined for the benefit of the people disregarding the interests of a handful of intermediaries.

“Formulating a simple import and supply mechanism of medicines is a priority. All the medicines should be of highest standards while warning relevant officials not to give any chance to produce or import substandard medicines,” the President’s Office quoted the President as saying.

While stressing on the need for maintaining buffer stocks to prevent any scarcity to occur, the President pointed out that orders should be placed by calculating the date of expiry of medicines.

Chairman of State Pharmaceuticals Manufacturing Corporation Dr. Uthpala Indrawansha said that his organization produces 80 medicines required by hospitals in the country.

Plans are underway to domestically produce saline and several other items. This will save the country around Rs. 1300 million annually, Dr. Indrawansha said.

The possibility of investing money belonging to the Employees Trust Fund and the Samurdhi Movement in the production of medicine was also explored. (Colombo Gazette)

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