Drug shortage to be minimised – Jayasumana


BY Gagani Weerakoon and Methmalie Dissanayake

Health Minister Channa Jayasumana admitted that there would be a shortage of certain medicinal drugs in the next quarter owing to the delay in opening Letters of Credit (LCs) and pledged that the Ministry is taking every possible step to minimise the impact of the drug shortage.

The Minister said there was a shortage of one out of the 14 lifesaving drugs, 37 out of 646 essential drugs and 48 out of non-essential drugs at the moment.

He also said according to Health Ministry officials, no death has been reported so far due to shortage of drugs. 

Speaking in Parliament, Jayasumana said LCs for several medicinal drugs should have been opened in January. 

However, it could not be done since the first week of April. Now, the US dollars for opening LCs have been released and it would take about 90 days for the consignment of drugs to arrive, he added.  Speaking further, the Minister said the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank have pledged to support Sri Lanka while, a consignment of emergency drugs provided by the WHO will arrive within the next two weeks. 

The Government also requested support of the Red Cross to procure drugs, he said.