National Drug Policy likely to be introduced this year

SPC is 40 years old today

By Revata S. Silva

The introduction of the long-awaited National Drug Policy, in line with the Mahinda Chinthana election manifesto, was likely to be finalized this year, said Upasena Jayarathne, a leading campaigner of the Prof. Senaka Bibile drug policy movement.

The State Pharmaceutical Corporation (SPC) which was founded in 1971, in keeping with the National Drug Policy introduced by Prof. Bibile, celebrates its 40th anniversary today (22).

"Although we managed to implement the National Drug Policy successfully for about six years after the formation of the SPC, multi-national companies undermined the entire process. Today, their operations are sophisticated and harmful to the public," said Jayarathne who was a member of the first staff of the SPC and worked closely with Prof. Bibile for many years. "We waged a relentless campaign until Prof. Bibile died under controversial circumstances in the Caribbean Islands in 1979," he said.

"The policy is all about providing quality drugs to the masses in their generic, not trade, name at a reasonable price.

It will be a highly meritorious deed. Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena has already promised that he would get Cabinet approval for the Policy this year. If such a policy is initiated, Sri Lanka can become renowned in the world once again as they did by successfully finishing the war against terrorism. It will be a significant achievement," Jayarathne added.

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