Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa and Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwela engaged in heated arguments when the latter alleged that people are faced with serious issues due to import of substandard medicinal drugs under emergency purchases.
The Opposition Leader raising a question under Standing Order 27/2 told Parliament that two anaesthetic drugs and an eye drop imported to the country had failed quality tests.
He said two anaesthetic drugs Propofol and Bupivacaine and an eye drop Prednisolone had failed sample quality tests in Sri Lanka and questioned if it is fair to import inferior quality drugs and put the lives of people in danger.
He said the Quality Control Laboratory has only 15 drug analysts whereas 60 officers should be there in the laboratory, and charged that six out of the 15 officers have also been removed now.
Health Minister Keheliya Rambkwella refuted these allegations and said recent deaths that occurred in the Peradeniya Hospital and issues regarding an eye drop in the Nuwara Eliya Hospital were not due to inferior quality drugs but an allergic reaction to the drugs which is normal anywhere in the world.
“The anaesthetic drug which is said to have caused deaths at Paradeniya Hospital is not due to any quality failure but an allergic reaction to the drug. The drug has been administered to ten patients but only one patient had developed complications due to the particular eye drop. It is normal in any country which has sophisticated testing labs. There is a tendency of developing complications in any drug,” he said.
Responding to the question regarding the Quality Control Laboratory, the Minister said no action had been taken to improve infrastructure or human resources at the laboratory from 2015 and said the founding drug analysts had created positions so that the positions are annulled after their retirement.
“We have filled 12 positions on contract basis. We have identified required positions for the laboratory and have sought approval from the Management Services Department,” he said.
The Opposition Leader tabled the failed sample quality tests of the three drugs claiming that he was making the allegations based on evidence.
The Health Minister admitted reports of quality failed drugs and said reports are obtained for batch withdrawals and said batches were withdrawn after the reports.
“I can’t help the ignorance of the Opposition Leader,” he added.
source daily mirror