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Tuesday September 26th, 2023

Sri Lanka facing shortage of 150 essential drugs; govt looking to boost local production

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is still facing a shortage of more than 150 essential medicines due to forex shortages while the Ministry of Health expects to increase local medicine production by 30 percent in the coming two years, officials said.

A source from the Ministry of Health said the country is facing a shortage of around 150 essential medicines in the health sector.

“Out of the 300 registered essential medicines in the country, the health sector is currently facing a shortage of 150 essential medicines,” a source said requesting anonymity on Tuesday October 25.

“However the state is making moves to secure more medicines, and we have also placed orders under the Indian credit line,” the source said.

From the one billion US dollar credit line from India, 200 million USD is to purchase medical supplies, with the State Pharmaceutical Corporation (SPC) given the responsibility of placing the order.

Sri Lanka has seen medicine shortages since late June with the Central Medicine Storage running out of stocks.

The authorities said that, until stocks are restored, the ministry has implemented a central communication strategy to facilitate the exchange of medicines between medical institutes based on availability.

The health ministry has informed state hospitals to prioritise emergency cases, minimising routine surgeries in order to preserve the available stocks.

“In hospitals around the country, especially in Colombo, a significant medicine shortage can be seen. This shortage is increasing day by day,” Dr Haritha Aluthge, a member of Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) said.

“District hospitals in particular have said that there is a shortage of essential medicines as paracetamol, saline as well as emergency medicines for heart attacks are running out.”

Aluthge said the public is unable to buy prescribed medicines as a result of the country’s economic situation and growing prices.

Asked about the private sector situation regarding the availability of medicine in the market,  Sanjiva Wijesekara, the president of the Sri Lanka Chamber of the Pharmaceutical Industries said most drugs are available and, even if specific brands are not in the market, pharmaceutical companies have introduced substitutes for consumers to purchase.

Meanwhile, the health ministry said in a statement that constructions of a pharmaceutical production zone with private and state investment in Uyamaduwa will commence in February 2023.

The ministry said 11 out of the 20 ground slots have already been given to private sector investors.

“At present, about 20 percent of the medicines needed by the country are manufactured in the country and it should be brought to the target level of 50 percent in the next two to three years,” the statement said quoting Minister Keheliya Rambukwella.

The drugs produced here are expected to be made available to the health system by 2024 or early 2025.

Quoting the minister, the statement said that some of the medicines produced locally are also planned to be imported and several such projects are expected to be implemented in the country in the future. (Colombo/Oct25/2022)

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  1. MAP Hemachandra says:

    These drugs are manufactured at SPMC. Who’s responsible for this? The SPMC Chairman?

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  1. MAP Hemachandra says:

    These drugs are manufactured at SPMC. Who’s responsible for this? The SPMC Chairman?

Sri Lanka cabinet okays appropriation bill for 2024 budget

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s cabinet of ministers had approved a draft Appropriation Act for 2024, the state information office said.

The Finance Minister’s proposal to gazette the bill and table it in parliament was approved by the cabinet.

Presenting the appropriation bill is the first stage of presenting a budget for 2024,

The appropriation bills set outs the expenditure plans for each ministry.

The budget proposals, made in November is called the second reading of the Appropriation Act. (Colombo/Sept24/2023)

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Sri Lanka’s MEPA to get 28.5 mn rupees from Singaporean AEPW, for beach clean up

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) is to receive 5.7 million rupees a year, for five years, from Singapore-based marine waste solutions provider, Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW), to maintain 8 beach cleaner machines.

The donation is meant to support MEPA clean coastal areas across Sri Lanka, using BeachTech Hydro Sweepy beach cleaner machines, previously donated by the organisation.

The oil industry-founded non-governmental organisation donated the 8 beach cleaners worth about US$180,000 to MEPA in the wake of the 2021 MV X-press Pearl ship disaster.

The machines manufactured by Kässbohrer Geländefahrzeug AG, a German company, are effective at cleaning up plastic nurdles and other types of potentially harmful non-biodegradable waste, minimising human contact with hazardous materials.

As a significant amount of money is spent for the deployment of these machines for beach cleaning activities, the Alliance to End Plastic Waste has agreed to provide the funds for the upkeep of the machines for a period of five years.

With this financial donation, the Maritime Environment Protection Authority will be able to continue using these machines without interruption to clean identified beaches in the future. (Colombo/Sep26/2023)

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Sri Lanka’s SEC makes four new appointments

ECONOMYNEXT – The Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka (SEC) made four new additions from diverse backgrounds to its leadership.

These appointments are expected to increase the effectiveness of the SEC secretariat in the respective operating areas, the SEC said.

Manuri Weerasinghe, with over 20 years of experience in accounting, financial management, financial reporting and auditing, was appointed Director, Corporate Affairs.

She is a Fellow Member of CA Sri Lanka, member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and a member of the Certified Practicing Accountants of Australia.

Her academic credentials include a Master of Business Administration and a BSc (Hons) in Accountancy and Financial Management (Special).

Prior to joining the SEC, she served in several financial management positions in Bermuda and Sweden.

Madura P R Wanigasekara was appointed Chief Digital Officer. He has over 20 years delivering and managing IT solutions, and has held several senior management positions in the public and private sectors.

His academic qualifications include a Master of Science in Information Technology from the University of Colombo and a Bachelor of Information Technology from the Curtin University of Technology.

He is also a member of the Australian Computer Society (ACS).

Sharmila Panditaratne was appointed Assistant Director, Legal and Enforcement.

She is an Attorney-at-Law with over 21 years of experience as a securities market regulator.

She holds a Master of Laws degree from the University of Houston, Texas and has worked at two law firms in the USA prior to joining the SEC.

Riyaz Bary, Deputy Solicitor General at the Attorney General’s Department was appointed a Director on secondment basis. (Colombo/Sep26/2023)

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