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By Rathindra Kuruwita

The Ministry of Health had sought to deny allegations that it was planning to buy Ganciclovir and Linezolid injections at ten times their market price, but the Minister of Health had cancelled the tender, College of Medical Laboratory Science (CMLS) President, Ravi Kumudesh said.

Despite the Ministry’s denial of the allegations, the cancellation of the tender had proved that there had been a shady deal, Kumudesh said, adding that earlier this week that the average market price of the Ganciclovir injection had been Rs. 7,000 and that of Linezolid injection Rs 220. However, some officials were trying to buy the Ganciclovir injection at Rs. 77,000 and Linezolid injection at Rs. 2,200, he said.

The Ministry of Health denied his claims saying that it had only commenced the procurement process to buy the injections and a final decision had not been taken. The Ministry said that there had been a discussion on the media reports on Monday

(03) and that it was revealed that the country had already received a shipment of injections. Therefore, the Minister of Health, Keheliya Rambukwella had asked officials not to purchase that drug with Asian Development Bank (ADB) funds.

“However, you have to realise that cancellation of these tenders is also a part of the pharmaceutical mafia’s machinations. Those in power will keep on cancelling tenders until they can award the contract to the company of their choice. By repeatedly cancelling tenders, the ministry won’t be able to buy drugs at the lowest cost. Moreover, often this leads to shortages of drugs in hospitals. This in turn allows those in power to make emergency purchases,” Kumudesh said.

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