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Nexus between Health Secy. and unregistered drug companies reason for substandard pharmaceuticals – Kiriella

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By Saman Indrajith

Chief Opposition Whip and Kandy District SJB MP Lakshman Kiriella told Parliament yesterday that a nexus between the Secretary to the Health Ministry and unregistered drugs importing companies had was the reason for the proliferation of substandard medicines in the country.

Participating in the debate on the no-confidence motion against the Health Minister, Kiriella said the economic crisis was not the main reason for the crisis in the country’s health sector. “The main reason is the link between the Health Secretary and the unregistered medicine suppliers. The National Medicine Regulatory Authority has no powers to override the orders issued to them by the Health Secretary to buy medicine from unregistered suppliers. The NMRA has to import medicine from these suppliers even when expert committees recommend against it because they have no powers.

The Health Secretary issues orders and the NMRA has to follow them. So the medicine rejected by the expert committees are being imported. We have spent four times more than the actual prices to import substandard medicine. As a result of these substandard medicines, people die and children lose their eyesight and there are many complications.

“As per the media reports ten persons died because of the administration of substandard anaesthetics. Ten kidney patients had died in the Kandy and Peradeniya hospitals. Seventy patients have lost eye sight after being treated at the Nuwara Eliya and National eye hospitals, as per the media reports. Cases could be filed for compensation against the medicine suppliers for each of these incidents under the provisions of the Section 131 (1) of the NMRA Act.

I demand to know how many cases have been filed from the government. As per the Health Minister not a single case has been filed. People are dying, children lose their eyesight but wrong medicine is continuing to be administered on patients,” Kiriella said.

 

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