Health officials instructed to place medicine orders three months ahead


Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella issued instructions to his officials to place orders for medicinal drugs three months ahead, instead of the present trend of placing orders for one month.

A senior official of the Health Ministry said yesterday (14) that Minister Rambukwella had said this would reduce the shortage of drugs and medical equipment in the future. At a meeting with Ministry officials and pharmaceutical suppliers, the Minister issued instructions to pay close attention to the maximum use of the Indian Credit Line for the health sector.

Ministry officials pointed out that the work related to this programme would be completed by the middle of next month. The minister gave instructions to take all the necessary measures to utilise the aid programme in a more effective manner. Furthermore, it is expected that the country will receive the necessary medical supplies for the next six months under the aid programmes of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).

He said, Rambukwella had issued instructions to his officials to take steps to reserve the Treasury funds without delay due to the increase in the value of the dollar by about 80 per cent compared to last year.

Even though the Indian Credit Line programme has ended, the medicine supply programme should continue, he said, quoting the Minister. Steps should be taken to implement the other donations and loan aid programmes to be received more efficiently. The Health Minister also pointed out that steps should be taken to speed up the programmes for obtaining aid.  Under the Indian Credit Line, funds have been allocated to the private sector to buy essential medicines and medical equipment, the official said, adding that the Minister had instructed the relevant suppliers to use it for the related purchases as soon as possible.

Minister Rambukwella also met representatives of the All Island Private Pharmacy Owners’ Association (AIPPOA). In particular, the existing problems regarding the raw materials required for the production of medicines, as well as the problems caused by the increase in the price of medicines were also discussed.

Rambukwella pointed out that the National Medicines Regulatory Authority Act must be amended expeditiously.

Acting Secretary of the Ministry of Health Chandrarathne Pallegama, Acting Director General of Health Services Dr. Champika Wickramasinghe, and a group of ministry officials participated. (DJ)