Government imported Rapid Antigen test kits on epidemiologists’ recommendation – Jayasumana

ECONOMYNEXT- The government chose to use an emergency tender process to import the Rapid Antigen test kits to Sri Lanka to cover the need of 1.25 million test kits required for the next three months on the recommendation of the Epidemiology Unit, the State Minister charged with Production, Supply and Regulation of Pharmaceuticals told Parliament today.

State Minister Prof Channa Jayasumana said the Epidemiology Unit has asked the Director-General of Medical Supplies Division on with the current level of Covid 19 reporting in Sri Lanka the estimated quantity will be 250,000 tests per month.

“In this context, the requirement for next 3 months along with the two months buffer stocks would be 1.25 million tests, this forecasting is based on the current state of the disease in the country in case of a change in the disease pattern that needs to reverse the estimate will be informed in due course,” Epidemiology unit said.

“When the WHO has pre-validated and pre-qualified these test kits to the whole world this is the first country in which the opposition has challenged that,” he said.

Jayasumana said that the recommendation to use these test kits by the state sector was given by the Epidemiology Unit on October 27.

Based on the recommendation he said, the Secretary to the Ministry of Health in various occasions held discussion with the WHO and came to an agreement to get some test kits, but WHO has informed that it will take two weeks to send those test kits.

“So the Health Secretary through the WHO office in India was able to get 200,000 rapid antigen test kits and through the Asian Development Bank, we were able to get another 300,000 test kits, So in order to get the remaining amount a tender process was started through the private sector,” Jayasumana said.

He added that Medical Supplies Division informed State Pharmaceutical Corporation (SPC) to call for emergency tenders for emergency buying as the normal tender process would take weeks.

Moreover, he said that tender was not carried our secretly as the members of the Medicine and Medical Suppliers Association was informed about the tender while the SPC in its official website has published about the tender.

He added that SPC has not done any mistake In the tender process but as the opposition is challenging the decision of the WHO it will only make the process late.(Colombo/Nov13/2020)

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Reported by Imesh Ranasinghe

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