Maithripala Says Criticism Of National Drug Policy Is Politically Motivated

Speaking at the Annual general Meeting of the Sri Lanka Chamber of the Pharmaceutical Industry (SLCPI) recently held at Hotel Taj Samudra,Maithripala Sirisena, Minister of Health, said that 99 percent of the Pharmaceutical Companies are ethical in their business practices.

The Minister further said that in line with the Government’s policy to sustain an open market economy, they had every intention of creating an environment, which provided healthy competition for private sector to operate within.  He added that the private sector played a big role not only in Sri Lanka, but in all thriving economies in the world.   The Minister said that an atmosphere where healthy competition exists for both the public and private sectors,would not only to provide the public with a more efficient service which the public will benefit from; but will at the same time, help strengthenthe healthcare sector of the country.

Commenting on the National Drug Policy, which has created a lot of media interest in recent times; the Minister confirmed that a lot of criticism has been aimed at a document which is still in its draft stage but currently available for public viewing on the internet. The Health Minister said that the majority of this criticism has come from parties with a politically motivated agenda.  The Minister reiterated that the Government does not entertain illogical criticism on initiatives it has planned for the betterment of the public and urged the SLCPI to direct any suggestions they have on the drug policy to the ministry, which will be given due consideration before the final document is sanctioned.

Anew committee has been appointed by the Ministry to study suggestions made to the draft drug policy and the Health Minister emphasized the importance of directing new suggestions to this committee with immediate effect. He also stressed that the National Drug Policy will have no impact on the Pharmaceutical companies that do proper business in the country and will largely contribute towards strengthening the Pharmaceutical industry.

He said that the Government has already signed agreements with the Bangladesh Government to directly import medicinal drugs and will soon be signing agreements withThailand and Malaysian governments for the same. He also said that he will discuss issues faced by the Pharma industry with the Minister of Trade, Johnston Fernando and insisted that the prime goal of all these efforts is to provide the public with the best possible service.

Speaking at the event the newly appointed president of the SLCPI Col. Chandra Jayarathne said that the SLCPI has always been in favor of a National Drug Policy. However on behalf of the SLCPI he requested the relevant authorities to reconsider two of the clauses in the existing draft of the policy i.e. the need clause and the cost effectiveness clause, which would negatively impact the industry, in the event they are approved.


Seen in the picture – Minister of Health, Maithripala Siriseana speaking at the event.

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