An Echelon Media Company
Friday January 21st, 2022
Health

Sri Lanka drug shortages being cleared soon, some have alternatives: Minister

ECONOMYNEXT – There is no shortage of vital drugs in Sri Lanka and seven essential medicines that are in short supply will be restocked in the next few weeks, a government minister said responding to opposition claims.

Seven essential drugs and 13 non essential drugs have a shortage, which will be rectified over the next few weeks, State Minister of Production, Supply and Regulation of Pharmaceuticals Channa Jayasumana told parliament, responding to opposition legislators during a vote for the budget of his ministry.

“Rajitha Senrathna (ex-Health Minister in opposition) said there is a shortage of 27 essential medicines while [SJB MP] Kins Nelson said it is 32 essential drugs and [SJB MP] Gayantha Karunathilka said it is 55,” Jayasumana said.

The state minister insisted that there is no shortage of 14 “vital” drugs used in Sri Lanka at the moment.

“We have 663 essential drugs. Of these, 15 are in short supply but for eight of them, substitutes can be used,” said Jayasumana.

“We have 458 non-essential drugs and of these, 17 are facing a shortage but substitutes can be used for four of those medicines.”

Jayasumna said a delay in restocking was due to the manufacturers being delayed in sending the drugs to Sri Lanka due to the COVID-19 situation in the country.

“There were some issues in financial transactions and transportation,” he said. “But we expect these drugs to arrive in the next few weeks.”

Sri Lanka is facing forex shortages after the central bank printed money and there are also price controls.

Jayasumana said Sri Lanka has also focused on manufacturing essential medicines in Sri Lanka in the future in a bid to save Sri Lanka’s fast depleting foreign exchange reserves.

“We have also started a project to open 25 new [state run pharmaceutical distributor] Osusala stores island wide by end of next year,” he added.

Sri Lanka has long tried to do “import substitution” and other quack remedies for balance of payments troubles instead of reforming the central bank law to block activist economists from printing money to keep rates down. (Colombo/Nov30/2021)

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