ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has already received more than 300 medicine items as of December through the Indian credit line and hopes to complete all orders by March 2023, officials said.
From the one billion US dollar credit line from India, 200 million USD was 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 SPC called tenders in March and, by April, the tenders were being evaluated by the officials.
“Of the 200 million US dollars we received, we allocated 55 million US dollars to the private sector supplier,” Chairman of SPC Sarath Liyanage told EconomyNext on Friday.
Orders will be placed for 674 medicine items and 17,88 surgical equipment, Liyanage said.
“So far we have received 74 medicine items through the SPC and more than 300 plus from the private sector supplier. No matter which sector you are bringing it from, the products’ origin must be India, which is a condition we have to follow.
“By December 31, we have to place all the orders and we hope by March 2023, we will have received all the medicine and equipment we have ordered.”
The island nation is currently struggling with lack of medicine in the health sector and, due to high demand and the low supply, the prices have increased in pharmacies and people have reduce their prescribed dosage.
Officials said the Indian credit line is being utilised according to a particular procedure, which took the local authorities around a month to understand along with how the letters of credit will be issued to the Indian banks and how the orders must be placed.
“We had to go through a series of documents and a specific supplier was selected to purchase a specific medicine,” said Liyanage.
According to the official, the orders will be sent to the Trade Ministry, the Finance Ministry, the high commission of India or the Delhi office and will then come to the Treasury.
A UNI number will be issued for the order and that number will be used by the SPC to place the order.
Liyanage said that, apart from the medicine and equipment that is already imported, more orders will be placed in the coming days. (Colombo/Dec10/2022)