- CPS officials appear before COPE to discuss drug shortage
- Committee finds that only $55.5 million has been used as of April 22, out of a total of $200 million allocated under the ICL for drugs
- COPE president says drug shortage was due to management inefficiency more than lack of funds
- Observes that the computer system used for the management of medical supplies has not been properly updated
- A company was paid Rs. 645m to set up the system and Rs. 5m per month for maintenance, but the system was not working properly
COPE Chair Charitha Herath urged State Pharmaceutical Corporation officials to take action to address the country’s drug shortage as soon as possible using Indian Credit Relief funds and other relief facilities. credit.
CPS officials appeared before the Committee on Tuesday to discuss the drug shortage in public hospitals as of May 13 and the steps being taken to address it.
The COPE chairman said that despite receiving $200 million in financial assistance under the Indian line of credit facility, as of April 22, the ministry’s drug subcommittee had only recommended a stockpile of medical supplies worth $55.5 million, only 28% of this subsidy. . As of May 18, only $92.9 million has been recommended for bills,” he informed the Committee.
The committee members said that due to a shortage of essential drugs in the country, steps should be taken to obtain needed drugs immediately using this money.
SPC officials said necessary steps were being taken to obtain essential drugs from the money and said the process had been delayed due to the appointment of several ministers during this period.
The Committee was informed that in addition to the Indian line of credit, the loan assistance program of the World Bank (WB), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and other donors have been received for the purchase of drugs and the aid thus far exceeded 330 million dollars and has not yet been disbursed.
Committee members said that if the necessary administrative decisions and necessary approvals are made as soon as possible and the drugs are purchased with this money, there will be no shortage of drugs until the middle of 2023.
The COPE president noted that the money received to prevent drug shortages had not been properly managed and used effectively. He said it was not the lack of foreign currency but the inefficiency in managing these funds that led to the shortage of medicines.
The officials present also pointed out that there was a shortage of rupees for the purchase of medicines. Accordingly, the Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, who also joined the meeting online, said necessary steps had been taken to resolve it as soon as possible.
COPE also found that the computer system used to manage medical supplies had not been properly updated. It was revealed that a company received Rs. 645 million to set up the system and Rs. 5 million per month for its maintenance, but the system was not working properly. For this reason, work has already started to prepare a new lower-cost computer system and about 80 percent of the work has already been completed, officials said.
The chairman of the COPE commission also focused on the methodology for calculating drug needs in the country and underlined the importance of maintaining such a system with more precision. Committee members said the method would enable them to identify daily drug needs and drug shortages in advance and take necessary measures to address them.
The procurement process of the State Pharmaceutical Corporation of Sri Lanka (SPC), the Medical Supplies Division of the Ministry of Health (MSD) and the National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) was also discussed during this meeting. Herath said these institutions need to work together as they are engaged in the important work of producing medical supplies.
The Committee also discussed the delay in the procurement of essential medicines for heart disease, essential medicines for diabetes, medicines used for anesthesia and essential medicines used for allergies and alternative medicines that can be used for these essential drugs. Discussions also took place on resolving the shortage of drugs for the 1990 ambulance service.
MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Rauff Hakeem, Patali Champika Ranawaka, Eran Wickramaratne, Harsha de Silva, Sarath Weerasekera, Madhura Withanage and SM Marikkar were present at this committee meeting.