The Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) reiterated its call for the management of the prevailing shortage of medicinal drugs and pharmaceuticals in the island.

GMOA Media Committee Member, Dr. Chamil Wijesinghe, when contacted yesterday (21), said timely management of pharmaceuticals would prevent a further medicinal drug crisis in the country during the next few months. He lamented that there was a shortage of medicinal drugs and consumables from medical institutions in the peripheries to large tertiary care health institutions like the National Hospitals in Colombo and Kandy. There may be shortages of medicines from antibiotics to surgical consumables like gauze. 

“This does not mean that the hospitals would let patients die due to the lack of medicines. It just means that there should be a close and proper management of the available drugs,” he said, pointing out that in order to do so there should be technical committees appointed by the Health Ministry to monitor the systems from the peripheral level to District and National level hospitals.

The shortage of dollars to import pharmaceuticals and raw material for the manufacturing of medicines has severely affected the country. But even as it is, measures should be taken to expedite the Health Ministry’s procurement process instead of allowing it to drag for eight to nine months at times if an attempt is to be made in overcoming this situation. 

Dr. Wijesinghe said, drug audit systems should be set up by the Health Ministry to monitor the pharmaceutical situation in hospitals. There are times that certain drugs which are in short supply at the National Hospital, Colombo may be in excess in Teaching Hospital Kalubowila or some other hospital. Therefore, a mechanism should be set up in this situation to prevent the misdistribution of pharmaceuticals.

By Dilanthi Jayamanne