With Sri Lanka’s foreign exchange reserves dwindling and import restrictions on the cards, the People’s Movement for the Right’s of Patients yesterday gave President Mahinda Rajapaksa some good medicine for the crisis.
At a meeting the PMRP decided to write to the President telling him that the implementation of the National Medicinal Drugs Policy could help save millions of dollars in foreign exchange.
Since 1977 some 8,000 different varieties of drugs have been registered for import. The PMRP points out that about 7,000 of these drugs are non essential and highly expensive ones imported under different brand names mainly to enrich multi national drug companies.
If the NMDP is implemented Sri Lanka would need to import only around thousand essential drugs and the saving in foreign exchange annually could make a significant contribution towards pulling the country out of an economic crisis.
The PMRP also decided to urge the President to act fast in introducing legislation for the Charter of Patients Rights and Responsibilities as a step toward restoring a health service where the well-being of the patients is given priority.
Among those who attended and spoke at yesterday’s meeting were the eminent physicians Professor Carlo Fonseka, world health expert Dr. K. Balasubramanium, Professor Tuley de Silva, Chinta Abeywardene, president of the Pharmaceutical Society of Sri Lanka, well-known gynaecologist Dr. L.A.W. Sirisena, and nutritionist Dr. Damayanthi Perera