Don’t let medicinal drugs shortage stop you – SLCP President

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Although there was a shortage of essential medicinal drugs such as some used for treating patients with epilepsy, patients should not refrain from seeking medical attention, President Sri Lanka College of Paediatricians (SLCP), Dr. Susantha Perera said.

He made this remark in a backdrop of the reducing numbers of patients who attended clinics at State-run hospitals.

Addressing a media briefing on Thursday (9) Dr. Perera said the medicinal drug brand that the patients were used to taking may not be available, but the doctor would prescribe a relevant substitute of the same generic drug.

The substitute drugs too are equally effective and have undergone medical trails and have the relevant data, he said. 

Responding to questions as to whether there would be an end to the current medicinal drug crisis, Dr. Perera said that what was currently being done was a mitigation of the crisis situation in the State health service.

The issues facing the other sectors and the health sector are all interwoven with the political and financial situation in the country. “Therefore till we find a solution to the economic crisis what we can do is to prevent things from going out of hand,” he added.  

He said that 95 per cent of Sri Lanka’s medicines were imported. Therefore whatever the medicines received as donations or purchased from the loans received should be managed carefully.    

Meanwhile, colleges of Medical Specialists also came together to support the Health Ministry in facing the crisis in the State health service.

Consultant Physician at the National Hospital in Colombo, Dr. Upul Dissanayake, urged the public not to remain at home when they fall sick as hospitals have substitute medicines to treat them. “Make sure that you attend your relevant clinics as it may prevent the aggravation of your health condition,” he said.

Dr. Dissanayake urged patients to refrain from hoarding medicines at home for two three months in fear of a shortage of medicines. “Your physician may change your medicine or the dosage that you are taking,” he said, noting that the medicines themselves required certain conditions to maintain their quality and standards which cannot be provided in a home environment.

The consultant Physician also urged patients who attend clinics not to waste medicines –especially if they already had some remaining from their previous clinic day still remaining with them.  

He urged patients to refrain from taking decisions without seeking medical attention. It is true that there are certain shortages in medicines. For instance there is a current shortage in medicines used for treating epilepsy.

By Dilanthi Jayamanne