Drug shortage to be fully addressed by March - Minister | Daily News

Drug shortage to be fully addressed by March - Minister

Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said he hopes to put an end to the medicinal drug shortage in the country in the first quarter of this year. Observing that the Health Ministry has been given a large budgetary allocation by the President, the Minister said that the Indian Credit Line has also been utilized to purchase essential drugs. He added that many international organizations, including the Asian Development Bank, have extended their help to resolve the medicinal drug shortage.

The Minister claimed that some elements, seeking a political mileage out of a drug shortage, were trying to discourage importers of pharmaceutical drugs and mess his Ministry’s programme to import medicines.

The Minister was speaking at a press conference in Kandy yesterday. He pointed out that only three companies came forward when tenders were called to supply 183 essential drugs, and that they also withdrew from the process within a month. The Minister said that the Government owes Rs.15 billion to pharmaceutical companies and that the Health Ministry owes Rs.16 billion to two State Banks.

Observing that only Rs.104 billion out of the Rs.300 billion allocated to the Health Ministry from the Indian Credit Line to purchase medicines had been utilized so far, the Minister said that he visited India recently to get its term extended until next March.

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