One of the architects of the National Drug Regulatory Act defends their work

By Dilanthi Jayamanne

The National Medicinal Drugs Regulatory Authority Act (NMRA) was not a solution to all drug related issues in the country, Consultant Physician and member of the Drafting committee of the Bill, Dr. Ananda Wijewickrama said yesterday.

Dr. Wijewickrema was responding to allegations levelled by the All Ceylon Government Medical Officers' Association General Secretary, Dr. Jayantha Bandara and the Director of the Cosmetic Devices and Drug Regulatory Authority (CDDRA), Dr. Amal Harsha de Silva, who dismissed the National Medicinal Drug Act as a hasty passed piece of legislation.

The main aim of the Act was to establish a regulatory authority to ensure the quality of drugs available in the country. "We cannot have one Act to cover everything related to drugs," he observed.

Dr Wijewickrema said the main objective of the NMRA was to ensure the availability of high quality drugs which were safe, efficacious and affordable to the general public. However, it did not contain provisions for punishing quacks. There was legislation in place to tackle such problems, he added.

The draft was submitted to the Legal Draftsman in September 2014. There were several consultations and discussions with professional associations. No one else should be faulted if the ACGMOA had not shown any interest in the deliberations prior to it being drafted, Dr. Wijewickrama said.

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