Pharmacies selling State-owned drugs to lose licences

By Don Asoka Wijewardena

Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena has instructed the Director of the Cosmetic Devices and Drug Control Authority, Dr. Hemantha Beneragama, to cancel the licence of any pharmacy which sells State owned drugs or pharmaceuticals. He had also given instructions that licences not be issued to convicted pharmacy owners’ relatives.

Large stocks of surgical gloves, belonging to the Health Ministry, were taken into the custody by the Investigation Unit of the Regional Health Director’s office, on May 30. The gloves were detected in a private pharmacy in Kandy, a Health Ministry spokesman said.

The Kandy Teaching hospital director Dr. Gamini Dissanayaka told The Island that as some surgical gloves were out of stock, a patient’s relatives was asked to purchase gloves from a private pharmacy. When the relative purchased the gloves, it was found that they belonged to the State.

He pointed out that some workers or group of workers in hospitals must have sold those gloves to pharmacies. The pharmacy personnel had attempted to cover the government logo by putting a sticker on every glove.

Health Ministry spokesman said that Health Minister Sirisena had instructed Director General of Health Services Dr. Ajith Mendis to hold an inquiry. It was a punishable offence and the culprits would be severely dealt with in accordance with the Cosmetic Devices and Drug Regulatory Authority Act.

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