Have your say: Essential drugs being withdrawn from the market

23 October 2018 - 236   - 9

With big pharmaceutical companies terrified to talk to the media fearing repercussions over the withdrawal of essential and life-saving drugs, serious concern is being expressed in health circles that Sri Lanka would be left with substandard and untested drugs which would cause prolonged illness and death in many a patient.

What is your view on this situation ?


See related articles below
Many essential drugs being withdrawn from Sri Lanka

NMRA responds to story on withdrawal of essential drugs


  Comments - 9

  • Hondatama Wada (Beheth walata gevanna) Wednesday, 31 October 2018 02:49 PM

    Stop Press, Stop Press. ...! The biggest pharmaceutical company in the world, Pfizer has announced full year revenues of USD 53 billion which is clearly more than half the Gross Domestic Product of Sri Lanka. Yes, as the previous contributor has said, the whole sweat, toil and panayankan wada of the people. Of course Pfizer has its local agent in Sri Lanka - the Sameh which says that "We Care for Other Community" - which one? The people of Sri Lanka or the shareholders of Pfizer? Any of the 20 million in Sri Lanka can check this by looking at the prices of Pfizer products in the local pharmacy. There should be absolutely no problem with the new BMW.

    Reply : 0       0

    Mr Artha Shasthra Thursday, 25 October 2018 11:10 AM

    The Times Online should be congratulated for providing this forum in the Public Space for readers to comment and engage on the issue of medicines prices. Medicines Prices are too important to be left to the regulators, pharmaceutical companies and committees. There should be informed opinion, consultation and comment with full disclosure of interest. For example, if there is an industry source, then that person should be identified. If a doctor is commenting, then he or she should declare whether he or she has received support from the pharmaceutical companies. The journalist should declare whatever support they have received from the pharmaceutical companies. "Medicines Are Expensive" – Do They Need to Be? Most of the medicines for the vast majority of the disease would probably not cost more than LKR 15.00 per day. For those who are paying more than this, go to a good pharmacy (If you are close to an OsuSala that would be fine), show the medicines that you are taking and ask for a more affordable alternative, which will usually be a generic. Yes, there are issues of quality but they have been highly exaggerated. Very rarely have medicines in Sri Lanka found to be substandard by quality control measurements. Of course, the brand name pharmaceutical companies who are mainly responsible for exaggerating this issue will repeat it again and again but without evidence. Remember it is your money and your health – intelligent decisions can help you to save money and have good health. Congratulations again to the Times Online for opening up This Public Space for discussion for the benefit of the readers.

    Reply : 0       1

    Mr Aushada V. Kunan Monday, 29 October 2018 04:47 PM

    All these Essential Medicines means the Business of Medicines is Obstructed My company which is an Agent for many Multinational Pharmaceutical Companies now has to go through A Baura thathvaya. We have on our Website, many Business Partners who are "Caring for Life" and they are very disappointed with us. In fact our CEO is now going around in a BMW that is more than 3 years old and the Product Manager who sent so many doctors for conferences abroad (and got free tickets for his whole family to Bangkok), this year will get a one night stay in a hotel in Galle for him and his wife. Patients, doctors, medicines regulators must realize that Medicine is a Business that Cares for Profits first, and then Cares for Life. Otherwise Sri Lanka will go the way of Cuba - doctors have to buy their own meals, pay for going to meetings, and medical meetings are held in reception halls rather than 5 Star hotels. Do we want Sri Lanka to go down that road?

    Reply : 1       0

    Hon da Mabeheth Monday, 29 October 2018 08:25 PM

    See Cancer Drugs are Priceless as otherwise the Patient will be Lifeless The Multinational Company Merck (there is a local agent in SRL .. Ahem, Ahemsa) announced sales of USD 45 billion approximately. That is half the GDP of all of Sri Lanka (the whole sweat, toil and effort of the 20 million). The major contribution to the USD 45 billion sales is Keytruda for the treatment of Cancer. So as the first sentence says Cancer Drugs are Priceless as otherwise the Patient will be Lifeless. Now a new BMW can be got.

    Reply : 0       0

    Shanthi Fenando (a Lawywer interested in Public Health ...) Sunday, 4 November 2018 05:40 PM

    Now .... this is the story of how a multinational pharmaceutical companies (present in Sri Lanka with a local agent) serve the patients. The case is if senior citizens who are in danger of losing their sight and going blind. This episode happened in the United Kingdom National Health Service, a system that can afford much more than poor Sri Lanka. Fortunately Sri Lanka has good ophthalmologists who have put patients before profits of pharmaceutical companies. The story Bevacizumab is an expensive medicine used for cancer. However of ophthalmologists globally found it effective in treating Wet Macular Degeneration - WMD (which occurs in the elderly and leads to blindness). WMD is not a cancer and patients do not die of it - they relentlessly and slowly go blind. The 25mg/ml vial of bevacizumab could treat many many patients. However the company that made bevacizumab also made ranibizumab which was astronomically expensive for the same WMD. For one vial of ranibizumab for one patient, forty patients could be treated with one vial of bevacizumab; and remember this is to prevent blindness in the elderly. Using bevacizumab would save the National Health Service millions of pounds. So what happened? The multinational company went to court to try and prevent the National Health Service of the UK from using bevacizumab in WMD. That was to increasethe profits of the company at the expense of the elderly becoming blind. The doctors and the pharmacists in the UK protestedat the Court actiond and supported the National Health Service of the UK. Fortunately the Court took a very firm stand; the Judge said it was an “absurd proposition” - a nadagam proposition. So when the pharmaceutical companies talk about making profits, remember they will make profits from the elderly who are going blind; clearly the companies are "blind" to the way that they make profits. Fortunately, the ophthalmologist in Sri Lanka have rejected the nadagam talk of of the pharmaceutical companies and use bevacizumab in the elderly to treat WMD and stop them going blind. This Nadagam Kathawa should be remembered by all when pharmaceutical companies talk of "serving patients".

    Reply : 0       0

    Samagam Kathaws (from Kompanna Vidiya) Monday, 5 November 2018 12:00 PM

    I think the Website should publish the name of the pharmaceutical company that did this Court Action - the Court Action is Public Knowledge and details appeared in the newspapers in the UK. I have researched the Court Case in UK and and found that the company was Novarits (based in Switzerland) and the local agent in Sri Lanka is A Baur Company Limited. The A Baur website has the Strapline "Pharmaceuticals, Caring for Life". 2 things that the local agent should do - the local agent should clarify whether they agree with what their Principals did in the UK (attempting to deprive the medicines for the elderly going blind) - Change the "Pharmaceuticals, Caring for Life" to "Pharmaceuticals, After we make Big Profits, Caring for Life" Oh, By The Way a response cannot be expected from the Sri Lanka Chamber of Pharmaceutical Industries (SLCPI) - emails get returned with the famous Elvis Presley Song "Return to Sender, Address Unknown".

    Reply : 0       0

    Hemal de Silva Tuesday, 13 November 2018 12:56 PM

    Many years after consulting Specialists who prescribed branded and expensive drugs for high blood pressure and cholesterol, I decided to take treatment from the Government Hospital. Since then as earlier, my medical problems are under control with drugs issued at no cost. Further, when experiencing or annually the necessary check ups are done free of charge. I also find that the drugs issued are those that are not expensive. These are the same drugs that have been issued to me for the past several years. So, WHAT IS THIS FUSS OVER "ESSENTIAL DRUGS" BEING WITHDRAWN !!!? Let me ask, "Is it only expensive drugs that are able to keep the patient in better health?

    Reply : 0       0

    Bimal Aththapatha Monday, 19 November 2018 12:25 AM

    It is those expensive drugs that allow the Head and similar Pharma Execs to get their Bonus and BMW cars. Now the cars are much more expensive and the drugs too expensive to be allowed. Those poor executives will have to buy reconditioned Japanese cars. Please have pity on them and keep that news to yourself.

    Reply : 0       0

    Naksha Pathaya Wednesday, 28 November 2018 12:39 AM

    The National Health Service in the United Kingdom is just about to buy the biosimilar (=generic) of the No 1 selling drug in the world (Humira, sold by Abbvie), generic name (adalimumab) from much more affordable manufacturers on the expiry of the patent. It will cost only 1/8th of the price. The NHS (UK) will save an enormous amount of money from which they will use to employ 1000 nurses, midwives etc. (Will serve the people very well) Does Sri Lanka buy Humira? Then the Medical Supplies Division can make an enormous saving which will provide more money for medicines as well as employing nurses and midwives. (Very Good) At this rate, the local agents of Abbvie would have to economise very severely. They will certainly not be able to afford the BMW and maybe not even a new Japanese car - they may have to be satisfied with the reconditioned one. So affordable medicines for the patients in Sri Lanka and reconditioned cars for the agents of the pharmaceutical companies. (More sales of Japanese Reconditioned Cars?)

    Reply : 0       0

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