People’s Movement for the Rights of Patients (PMRP) today filed a Fundamental Rights petition in Supreme Court seeking an Interim Order preventing the health authorities from utilizing the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine for Covid-19 in Sri Lanka.

The PMRP, its President Louis Benedict and its joint secretary Christine Perera filed this petition naming Minister of Health PavithraWanniarachchi, State Minister of Pharmaceutical Production, Supply and Regulation, National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) and its members and several others as respondents.

The petitioners stated that it is the duty of the state to preserve the life, health and wellbeing of all its citizens. They said NMRA is made up of professionals and has been functioning as an independent body to ensure that efficacious safe and good quality medicine is available to the people.

The petitioners further said during the pandemic, the NMRA appointed a panel of independent experts to conduct scientific evaluations of all Covid-19 vaccines.

The petitioners said they got to know from media that a member of the NMRA, the nominee of the Sri Lanka College of Pediatricians has been removed for allegedly as he had opposed approval being given to use Chinese Sinopharm vaccine for Covid-19 as there was insufficient data to evaluate its safety.

The petitioners further said as of the time of such removal, the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine had not yet been granted emergency use listing by NMRA and it appeared that no adequate date had been provided by the manufactures of such vaccine regarding its safety and efficacy and details regarding clinical trials. The petitioners said the State Minister had made a fresh appointment to the said post.

However, petitioners said it appears to them that an expert medical panel of the NMRA had been established to consider granting approval to the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine but had not done so due to insufficient data being available to come to a decision on the safety, efficacy and immunogenicity of the Sinopharm vaccine. The petitioners said they are now aware that the several NMRA members have been removed and to date requisite to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine has not been received. The petitioners said they believe that such a vaccine has been brought into the country without approval from the relevant experts authorized to do so.


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