The country’s drug regulator has functioned without a Professor of Pharmacology to offer guidance in making crucial decisions for the past few months, Senior Consultant Physician Dr. Ananda Wijewickrama charged.   

The state regulator, the National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA), requires the expertise of professors and specialists in each field of medicine when making decisions concerning public health, Dr. Wijewickrama explained.

“There must be a Professor in Pharmacology in this Authority to advise on this speciality. But over the past few months, there were no professors from the Pharmacology field appointed to the authority,” he said.   

Meanwhile specialist doctors in surgery and gynaecology too have not been appointed to the NMRA, he said.   

The senior consultant cautioned that decisions made by an authority which lacks specialists’ supervision may be inaccurate, as the authority does not receive the expert consultations.   
Commenting on the sudden transfer of 23 senior pharmacists to the ministry with immediate effect, Dr. Wijewickrama said, “Transfers made in this manner, would only cause the downfall of this establishment. These attempts at sabotage are extremely dangerous.” Asked if the Ministry has communicated the reasons for this transfer, Dr. Wijewickrama said that he was not aware of such a development.   

At a media briefing organized by the Sri Lanka Medical Association Dr. Wijewickrama also noted of the NMRA’s arbitrary imports of various medicines into the country without evaluation. “Citing emergency requirements, various drugs were imported to the country in the past, without an assessment of quality, safety or efficacy,” he said.   

Dr. Wijewickrama said that even after the lapse of six months in 2023, Sri Lankan health authorities are still challenged with a shortage of medicines. “This is not just a concern for us doctors, but also the public who are inconvenienced,” he said.   

Authorities have continuously cited a lack of funds, which has now been resolved, Dr. Wijewickrama said. “On the one hand there is severe mismanagement within the regulatory body, and therefore unregulated drugs are being imported to the country,” he charged.

source daily mirror