By Rathindra Kuruwita
The government must establish an institution to entertain complaints from patients about problems with drugs or services and a mechanism to investigate these complaints, President of the College of Medical Laboratory Science (CMLS) Ravi Kumudesh says.
The Laboratory Technologist had also demanded an investigation into the death of a 35-year-old woman following surgery at the National Eye Hospital, Kumudesh said, adding that Himali Priyadharshani Weerasinghe had passed away without gaining consciousness after an eye surgery.
“The deceased underwent surgery on 05 July. There are many who suspect that she died due to the anaesthetic used in the surgery. We have raised concerns about the quality of Anestisol, a brand of the sedative-hypnotic agent Propofol. The National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) dismissed these concerns.
Recently, the Health Minister insisted in Parliament that the deaths at two hospitals in Peradeniya had not been caused by an anaesthetic,” he said.Kumudesh said that patients were dying or facing serious consequences due to low-quality drugs, and it was the responsibility of the government to look into these reports.
“We urge the people to think rationally; don’t panic. The overwhelming majority of healthcare professionals are deeply committed to your well-being. If you have suspicions about the side effects of a drug, complain to the Sri Lanka Medical Council, Director General of health services,” he said.
The anaesthetic believed to have caused two deaths at the Peradeniya Teaching Hospital had been procured through the Indian Credit Line, Dr. Vijith Gunasekera from the National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) told journalists last week.
Dr. Gunasekera said certain drugs obtained under the Indian Credit line were used in Sri Lanka without being registered with the NMRA.He said Sri Lanka, facing a severe shortage of essential items, including drugs, had relied heavily on loans from various countries and organisations for the procurement of drugs. He cited lack of testing capacity as a hindrance to examining every batch of imported drugs.