Rajitha says big Pharma is at war with him

Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne says the Multinational Pharmaceutical companies are fighting him because he has brought down the prices of drugs.

Speaking in Parliament the said that these companies are unhappy because he sets the price of drugs.

He added that these companies lied about the price of the drugs.

The minister was responding to a question raised by Sudharshani Fernandopulle.

He also said that no money has been paid for Neville Fernando Hospital and it is a government agency which is run by a board.

Senaratne said that some politicians are working for the multinational companies while neglecting the concerns of the patients. “They get election money from them,” he added.

He also said that the amendment to the Medical Ordinance was first talked about in 2006 and on 03 September 2018 the Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) wrote to him under a new legislation to replace the current ordinance and proposed twelve names to the New Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) and asked him to select from those names as he wished.

“But by 20 September, I appointed a five-member committee which included Prof. Nilantha De Silva then vice-chairman of the SLMC, Director General of Health Services Dr Anil Jayasinghe, former Attorney General Palitha Fernando, Harindra De Silva and Prof. Palitha Abeykoon,” he added

He said that was how the SLMC was appointed without any political interference.

He said that in the case of Dr Shafi we appointed a committee headed by Director Health Information of Ministry of Health Anil Samaranayake but since the SLMA opposed to it we decided to let the CID do the investigations with our support.

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Senaratne also said a particular multinational has a monopoly over cancer drugs in the country. This multinational will fight any government goes against the drug.

When India touched it, the company went to court and an injunction was taken against the Indian Minister and the case was lost. In our country too they went to the Court of Appeal. 

The minister said that when he took the office some of the drug prices were sky high, and it was the mafia in the drug deal that Senaka Bibile showed at the time and all the governments in this country had spent the majority of their money on pharmaceutical companies and not for the people.

 “I was told not to touch it. We know what happened to Bibile. We are Bibile’s disciples. We have politics. And there is a profession. This our country and we are not the people who left the country so we have an idea about the country,” he added.

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