CJ calls on minister to expedite legislationView(s):
Chief Justice Shirani Bandartanaike has again told Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena to expedite legislation for a National Medicinal Drugs Policy (NMDP) to provide quality drugs to the people at affordable prices.She gave the directive when the fundamental rights case filed by the People’s Movement for the Rights of Patients and another petitioner came up for hearing before a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court.
The Court said when the case came up on a previous occasion, it had given a similar directive because it belived the legislation was important and urgent in the national interest. But once again the senior state counsel representing the Attorney General’s Department was saying the legislation was not yet ready because of another delay in the Legal Draftsman’s Department.
The Chief Justice said that time and again the AG’s department had said, gthe legislation would be presented soon, but it had not happened and she was now asking the Minister to act without further delay.
The two petitioners including Lohan Bibile, have said the National Medicinal Drugs Policy will also help Sri Lanka to save millions of dollars in foreign exchange by stopping the import of thousands of non-essential drugs which are brought under extremely expensive brand names.
The petitioners claim some vested interests in the ministry and in transnational drug companies are blocking the legislation for the NMDP.
The Chief Justice said she hoped when the case was taken up again on November 26, the legislation would have been presented.Human Rights Lawyer Krishmal Warnasooriya appeared for the petitioners.
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