Private pharmacists seek Govt assurance

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By Dilanthi Jayamanne

A group of private pharmacy owners met Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa to seek assurance that the Government would not let the Forex crisis affect the supply of essential and life saving drugs.  

Treasurer of the All Island Private Pharmacy Owners’ Association (AIPPOA), Manjula Jayawardena said yesterday (31), an appeal has been made to Rajapaksa to ensure the smooth distribution of pharmaceuticals which has of late been hampered due to shortage in fuel supplies. 

The ongoing fuel crisis has affected the distribution of medicines to pharmacies in areas such as Mahiyanganaya, Badulla, Moneragala and several other areas.

The AIPPOA stressed the distribution vehicles be allowed to obtain fuel at least from the Sri Lanka Transport Board Depots to ensure an uninterrupted supply of pharmaceutical items. Rajapaksa responded by stating that the existing shortages of drugs in State hospitals and private pharmacies would not continue and that priority would be given to purchase essential life-saving drugs.  

“Current Forex crisis should not affect patients. A drug crisis should be averted including queues outside pharmacies. We don’t wish to play politics; the State Ministry for Production Supply and Regulation of Pharmaceuticals has taken steps to extend the Indian Credit for this purpose.” he added. 

Almost 85 per cent of pharmaceuticals are channelled from India while 16 per cent of essential life-saving drugs are from other countries. “However with the Indian Credit line on board, we have to explore whether these drugs too, could be purchased from India itself,” he quipped, adding that life-saving medicines included cardio vascular medicines used after bypass surgeries.