In a strange turn of events, Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella has ceremonially introduced three medicinal drugs that are already in the market, accused the College of Medical Laboratory Science Sri Lanka (CMLSSL).
“The medicinal drug Omeprazole 20 mg is used for gastric acidity and was launched in February 2020. The medicine was introduced by the then Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi. The drug, levothyroxine 50 mg (used for thyroxine deficiency) was introduced again in April 2022 at a function held under the patronage of State Minister, Prof. Channa Jayasumana,” CMLSSL President, Ravi Kumudesh alleged.
Kumudesh yesterday (17), lamented that the State Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Corporation (SPMC), which knew very well the importance of pharmaceutical production to solve the country’s pharmaceutical crisis, was deceiving the public instead. Referring to the three medicinal drugs Levothyroxine 50 mg, Omeprazole 20 mg, Mefenamic Acid 50 mg launched at a ceremony held earlier this week, he said they had been manufactured by the SPMC much earlier and were distributed in state hospitals through the Medical Supplies Division (MSD).
“Rambukwella had been duped into launching medicinal drugs at a ceremony held earlier this week in a bid to cover up the failure of the SPMC,” he said.
Kumudesh urged the Health Minister to develop the SPMC instead of allowing it to fool him and the public by organising such grand ceremonies to issue pharmaceuticals which had already been produced and issued by that same corporation much earlier.
“Minister Rambukwella knowingly organised a function to cover up his inability to have made a positive intervention towards encouraging the production of pharmaceuticals during his tenure. Such deceptions only throw the country’s state health service into a further dilemma,” he added.
Kumudesh accused the SPMC of having used the Health Minister’s official status to cover up its inability.
“Health authorities are responsible to work in collaboration with the Government under a long-term plan to overcome the economic crisis in the country. For that, local production of drugs is a major requirement of which the responsibility should be borne by the SPMC.”
He alleged, “The production of pharmaceuticals was deliberately discouraged during the tenure of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, and no company was allowed to manufacture pharmaceuticals during that period.”
He said for a lengthy period his outfit had been criticising the Government for not appointing the required officials needed for health services.
Kumudesh alleged that more than 30 manufacturing companies had abandoned work during that period due to the commissions and the weakness of the management. “The Corporation had also failed to recruit a single company for drug manufacturing,” he further said.
By Dilanthi Jayamanne