The government, its health minister and the health ministry have become the main parties in the smuggling of substandard medicines into the country, said opposition leader Sajith Premadasa.
The essential medicine human immunoglobulin (IVIG) has been registered without following the procurement procedures, but by faking documents.
Premadasa said the government is responsible for providing inferior medicines that send the people to their deathbeds.
The opposition leader was making a special statement regarding inferior quality medicines.
Actions of the health minister and the ministry were repeatedly criticized for three days during the debate on the no-confidence motion, but debates are held on smuggling of substandard medicines by destroying the people’s tax money.
However, 113 MPs expressed their willingness to take the people to their deathbeds by providing them with substandard medicines, said the opposition leader.
The drug IVIG has been smuggled into Sri Lanka without any standard, procurement and registration and has been given to a number of patients.
Noting that experts have confirmed that if these medicines are not available, the lives of some patients will be at risk, Premadasa said that this medicine is also given when the disease called myasthenia gravis is aggravated.
In this situation, many patients who have been given this inferior medicine have developed allergic reactions.
He asked the government for its answer to this situation.
The government is putting crony capitalism first and is playing political games and postponing the elections, the opposition leader charged.
The president is responsible for this smuggling and he can well remove the corrupt health minister right now but he won’t do it and the government is losing a lot of money for the country through drug smuggling while taxing the people, Premadasa charged.
All those involved in this criminal act would be brought before the law in a government of the SJB and justice would be done, he added.
Documents below show the importer in question has been dealing with the health ministry since 2013.
Don’t allow fraudsters to flee - Kumudesh
Meanwhile, the Joint Council of Professions Supplementary to Medicine urged the government to prevent those responsible for the fraud from fleeing the country.
JCPSM president Ravi Kumudesh said ten days had lapsed since the CID had been called to probe the scam.
However, the accused company had not even been summoned for questioning as yet, he alleged.
It is evident that within the next few days the public will be told that responsible parties had fled the country.
The National Medicines Regulatory Authority has written to the CID, asking for an investigation into the matter.
Fraud close to Rs. one billion
The ministry’s emergency purchases unit on 03 October bought 22,500 vials of the vaccine, at 130 US dollars per vial, for nearly Rs. one billion.
An investigation needs to find answers to many questions.
They include – if any technical evaluation committee was appointed for the purchase, identities of the experts who did the evaluation and their recommendations.
The Customs says it has not received any documents from the company seeking its permission to import raw materials from India.
No report of approval has been obtained for a local manufacture of the vaccine.
Also, there are no documents for the re-importation to an Indian company as claimed.
The source of the plasma used in its manufacture and if imported from India, there are no supporting documents.
Meanwhile, popular social media activist Lalitha Hewagamage had made the following note on facebook.