Pharmacies form drug hunting network


Private pharmacies have formed a network to help patients and their relatives locate medicinal drugs that they lack, due to the prevailing medicinal drug crisis in the island, the All Island Private Pharmacy Owners Association (AIPPOA) said.

AIPPOA President, Chandika Gankanda, yesterday (27) said they received at least 300 calls per day requesting assistance in locating medicines that could not be found in the State and private sector. The two help lines 045-2275636 and 077-1977177 are open from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on week days to provide the required assistance in locating the drug. Depending on the district and province the patient lives, the AIPPOA office searches the medicine in pharmacies within the district and province the patient lives in. Failing which, they may have to search for its availability in pharmacies in other provinces.

Gankanda noted that some of the queries regarding medicine availability which were made on State-sponsored ‘Suwaseriya’ ambulance service were also diverted to the AIPPOA owing to the current shortage even in State hospitals.

“The patient is informed as to where he or she could purchase the drug from once it is located. But if they are facing difficulties in transport due to the current fuel crisis, the AIPPOA tries to make arrangements to have the drug delivered to the patient. This too is difficult as it violates the National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) as the vehicles used to convey the medication may not have the required storage facility to maintain its quality and standard – especially when it is an injection or vaccine which requires the maintenance of its cold chain. 

By Dilanthi Jayamanne