Leading health sector trade unionist Ravi Kumudesh says the drug mafia gets upset over moves to encourage the local production of pharmaceutical drugs.

It never becomes concerned when the same drug is introduced over and over again, he said in response to a media statement issued by the State Pharmaceuticals Manufacturing Corporation (SPMC) with regard to a launch of three new medicines on August 15 by health minister Keheliya Rambukwella.

The president of the association of health professionals says he rejects the SPMC’s claims that Omeprazole 20 mg and Levothyroxine 50 mg had been newly introduced.

If the SPMC honestly wants to curb the drug mafia, what it should do is to encourage and provide facilities to boost local production, Kumudesh says.

The SPMC has shown no such efficiency in the past few years, he adds.

When contacted, a senior SPMC official said the ceremony was organized to give wide publicity to the commencement of the supply of Mefenamic Acid Tablets BP 500mg to the Medical Supplies Division and the local market, and Levothyroxine Tablets IP 50 mcg and Omeprazole Capsules IP 20mg to the local market.

The official especially pointed to a constant shortage of Levothyroxine in private pharmacies.

Issuing drugs as bulk packs to state hospitals and supplying blister packs to private pharmacies are two totally different things, the official added.