Health Ministry stocks enough drugs to cover first quarter

By Dilanthi Jayamanne

The Health Ministry yesterday said it had taken early action to ensure an adequate stock of drugs for the first three months of 2014.

Spokesman for the Health Ministry, Dharma Wanninayake said yesterday that it was the first time that the government health service had been able to stock such a large quantity of drugs sufficient for a period of three months well ahead of time.

Medical Supplies Division Head Dr. Kamal Jayasinghe has informed the Health Minister that letters of credit were opened three months earlier to enable the MSD to acquire all drugs required for patient care well ahead of time. The recurring drug shortages had prompted health authorities to call for early tenders,, the spokesman said.

Wanninayake said that government hospitals and provincial drug stores had been asked to improve storage facilities to accommodate drug stocks for three months.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry spokesman also said that agreements had been entered into with Bangladesh, Thailand and Malaysia for the required drug supplies. The government-to-government agreements had widened Sri Lanka’s scope as well as helped in breaking the monopoly created by drug suppliers. He said that the monopoly, which some drug suppliers had over the government health service, had created drug shortages. It had led to the supply of low quality drugs and the inability to meet tenders on time, causing the ministry to resort to local purchasing at an enormous cost to overcome artificially created drug shortages. It also created awkward situations for the Health Ministry, Wanninayake added.

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