Drug policy before Cabinet next week

By Don Asoka Wijewardena

Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena said yesterday that he would be submitting the National Drug Policy Draft Bill to the Cabinet next week. Thereafter, he would invite trade unions, the Senaka Bibile Foundation and the National Chamber of Pharmaceuticals to comment on it, he added.

The minister said his main concern was to get the Bill approved by the Cabinet first, as the draft Bill could be amended by Parliament if there was any need subsequently. The original National Drug Policy Draft Bill disappeared a few years back, he said, adding that some multinational drug companies had engineered its theft.

When asked whether he had made a complaint to the CID or police about the theft of the original draft bill, Minister Sirisena said that it was not his duty to make a complaint. The then Chief Legal Draftsman was supposed to make a complaint to the relevant authorities. The Senaka Bibile Foundation had never asked him to show the newly prepared Draft Bill. But, once it was approved by the Cabinet, it would be open to everyone, the minister said, noting that he had been offered a great deal of money to withhold the Draft Bill by some drug companies, but their attempts to bribe him had been in vain. The name of the new national drug policy will the National Drug Policy and Cosmetics Devices Regulatory Act.

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