Tough laws to deal with medicinal drugs mafia

Parties found guilty of illegal dealings in medicinal drugs could face life imprisonment under tough new laws. According to the Minister of Health, Maithripala Sirisena, a large-scale medicinal drugs mafia is operating around the country.

The minister was speaking to participants who had attended the Sri Lanka Chamber of the Pharmaceutical Industry annual general meeting, on Friday, “If the present laws aren’t stringent enough, we will amend the existing acts,” Minister Sirisena said. “The Ministry won’t hesitate to take action against private pharmacies and state hospital staff found guilty of misusing medicinal drugs.”

According to the Minister, a series of recent raids had revealed widespread malpractice involving pharmacies. Some pharmacies had stocks of medicines that were supposed to be available only in state hospitals.

“We found pharmacies selling medicines that are given free of charge in government hospitals,” he said. A large stock of Glyceryl TNT tablets, a small tablet usually kept under the tongue by heart patients to prevent chest pain (angina), was found in a pharmacy in Pettah.

Only state hospitals are authorised to stock Glyceryl TNT. Minister Sirisena said state hospital staff and health officers at ministerial level may be involved.

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