The President of the Sinhala Ravaya has written to President Gotabaya Rajapakse to intervene in the CID investigation into the deletion of files of the National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) to ensure that it is independent.

The venerable Akmeemana Dayaratne told the President that his intervention is necessary to remove the public from the clutches of the pharmaceuticals mafia.

Other members of civil society and the Association of Health Professionals have already raised concerns about the appointment of a committee by the State Minister of Production, Supply and Regulation of Pharmaceuticals Channa Jayasumana to look into the loss of attachments as a result of files being deleted from the Lanka Government Cloud.  They are crying foul over the appointment which they point out will not be independent because of allegations against the same state ministry officials about their allegedinvolvement in the pharmaceuticals mafia.

Among the recommendations of the committee were that Jayasumana himself takes over control of the NMRA and for a more efficient documentation and workflow system to be put in place because of the number of complaints about the eNMRA.

The committee comprised former High Court Judge Kusala Sarojini Weerawardena, Professor Manik Hettihewa, Dr Udaya Sri Kariyawasam, A H Gamage and Dr Prasad Colombage.  

Meanwhile, the NMRA has still not allowed Epic Lanka Technologies to access the computer system despite a court order that the NMRA, Information and Communication Technology Agency and Epic do it jointly.  

When the defendant was produced in the Colombo Magistrates Court for the second time earlier on Monday this week, his counsel SaliyaPeiris PC, moved the Court to consider granting him bail which has not been given so far.  

The digitalization of the document and workflow system in the NMRA was to streamline and make the process operationally efficient and reduce potential malpractice to bring greater transparency to its work.  It was a move which was met with resistance both internally and externally. Prior to digitalization, applications were submitted manually and could take as long as two years for completion

Even after the digitized system was introducedsome applications such as those related to the import of medicines and devices for Covid, were processed manually but had to be fed into the system eventually.  Without the eNMRA in place, it will now make it possible to claim that the data cannot be entered because there is no digitized system.  

The eNMRA system, which was the first its kind, was so successful that the WHO viewed it as one of the best and most progressive systems and wanted it adopted in the region.




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