The four colleges of medicine have expressed their concern over the manner in which the National Medical Regulatory Authority has listed 330 medicinal drugs to be purchased under the Indian credit line without proper evaluation.

The four colleges are the Ceylon College of Physicians, the College of Surgeons of Sri Lanka, the Sri Lanka College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Sri Lanka College of Pediatricians.

The professional colleges of medicine are represented in the National Medicines Regulatory Agency.

The four colleges are deeply concerned about the irregular nature of approving medicines to be imported for the use of the Sri Lankan public. Usually, before importing a drug, the NMRA has to evaluate and register it. However, for the last meeting of the Medicines Evaluation Committee (MEC) of the NMRA, a list of about 330 drugs, each in large quantities, that are to be purchased through the Indian Credit Line was submitted for approval, and none of these were evaluated or registered by the NMRA. A press statement issued by the four colleges stated:

We were informed that the Chief Executive Officer of NMRA has approved about 275 of these by giving a waiver of registration without any check on the quality, efficacy, or safety of those drugs, to be used in government hospitals and sold through State Pharmaceutical Corporation outlets. We note that several of these drugs are not essential drugs and are therefore not necessary to import during this economic crisis. Some of these drugs are not even on the list of drugs purchased by the Ministry of Health. In addition to the importation of these drugs for the government hospitals, approval had been sought for some drugs for importation by the State Pharmaceutical Corporation for the private market.

The practice adopted recently of approving drugs whose quality, safety, and efficacy are not assessed can put the lives of our patients in danger. Furthermore, this will lead to a waste of money as these will be purchased with a loan through the Indian Credit Line, which the people will have to repay. We have raised this issue with the Chairman of the NMRA, but with the lukewarm response we have received, we have decided to write to the President seeking his intervention. Therefore, we have sent the following letter, which is self-explanatory. We sincerely believe that prompt action will be taken to stop these irregularities and ensure the safety of patients.

Media release on NMRA


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