Drugs worth Rs 6.25B failed quality tests – COPA

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The Committee on Public Accounts (COPA), in a shocking revelation, said that Rs 6.25 billion worth of medicinal drugs had failed quality tests, from 2011 to 2020, due to improper storage and 99 per cent of the drugs had already been given to patients at the time this situation was brought to attention.

This was revealed in the first report of the COPA, tabled in Parliament on 20 May, by its Chairman Prof. Tissa Vitarana.

The COPA disclosed that Rs 6.25 billion worth of drugs had failed quality tests from 2011 to 2020 due to improper storage. The report further discloses that 99 per cent of the drugs were already given to the patients when the condition was brought to attention. In this situation, it is not possible to recover the cost of quality failed drugs from the suppliers.

Therefore, the committee directed the Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine to expedite the process of facilitating the storage of drugs to ensure the safety of the drugs.

It has been also observed that the temperature in the warehouses owned by the Medical Supplies Division was not maintained properly and that the medical supplies were stored in the corridors of the central drug warehouses and hospitals.

Furthermore, the former Secretary to the Ministry had pointed out that if there is a system to detect the failure of the drug as soon as it is received, the loss can be recovered from the suppliers’ guarantee and if the quality testing of 60 drugs can be done by the State Pharmaceutical Corporation (CPC), this situation can be avoided to some extent.

By Methmalie Dissanayake