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Medicinal drugs policy gets off the ground
The medicinal drugs policy was the brainchild of the late Prof Senaka
Bibile- pharmacologist extraordinaire. His intention was to alleviate
the suffering of the sick.
Senior citizens who could not afford the exhorbitant price of
medicine and virtually living on drugs were of the view that about 600
to 700 generic drugs would suffice as long as they were of good quality.
The Royal Society of London approves a quantity that is similar. The
Professor and his Drugs Policy were nipped in the bud and for the past
three decades, whenever this subject turned controversial the
authorities promised dates to implement the policy but nothing was done
Having been in the pharmaceutical field as a qualified pharmacist
since 1957, I can say that today the medical and pharmaceutical
profession has fallen into the lowest depths of mudalalism! In the early
1950's, being in the medical profession even in a small way was
respectable. Pharmacies were run by people of integrity and according to
Today, Soorootu kaday mudalalies have converted their cigar boutiques
The medical profession is the gravy train. They smuggle drugs from
India and Asian countries from sources who are not heard of as
Banned and unlicensed drugs are brought in. It is an accepted fact
that 95% of these drugs were ineffective.
These drugs are peddelled to quacks who operate under the guise of
‘homoeopathy’ doctors. Save a few all the rest have bogus homoeopathy
certificates from non existent institutes, mainly from Asian countries.
This issue was swept under the carpet along with a large amount of
dollars, pounds Euros and what have you into the coffers of the locals
in power to suppress this from being implemented. In the early years,
beginning from 1952 when I joined the pharmaceutical trade, drugs were
manufactured by prestigious drugs companies in England, America Germany
Italy Switzerland and so on. They were of unquestionable quality.
Today they have turned into an al caponic drug mafia and turned into
a dictatorial power controlling consultants to prescribe their
exorbitantly priced drugs offering them incentives so exciting that
cannot be refused.
The funniest part is that these quacks are invited to practise in
some private medical institutions. If this is not flouting the law, what
is? There are besides the exorbitant drugs about 20 of the same generic
drugs manufactured by Asian countries at different prices whose quality
is questionable. It is gratifying to note that G.M.O.A. Doctors who are
fighting a losing battle trying to save lives due to lack of drugs. They
are in my opinion the only humanitarians in the medical profession.
Seat belts for safety
Motor accidents occur mainly due to human weakness or genuine error.
It was reported by the Traffic Police that in Sri Lanka nearly six
motor-related deaths occur daily. Innocent lives are crudely snatched
away by reckless drivers who do not observe highway rules, ethics or
The objective of protecting motorists by the authorities to overcome
injuries or even death is to implement the law of wearing seat belts by
all passengers in a vehicle.
In 2009, when Jean Todt, President of the Federation Internationale
de L'Automobile (FIA) based in Paris, France which is the largest
motoring organisation in the world, our Association is also affiliated
to it - visited Sri Lanka and observed that 25% of the motorists’
injuries and deaths could be avoided by wearing seat belts.
The ‘Seat Belt’ law under the Motor Traffic Act was published in the
Gazette under Motor Traffic “Amendment” Act No. 8 of 2009 on March 13,
2009. But, this law was not implemented until our Association took the
matter up with the relevant authorities.
Due to our efforts, the Minister of Transport, by Extraordinary
Gazette No. 1718/12 of August 9th 2011 introduced this law to be
implemented and required the driver and the front passenger of every
motor vehicle to wear seat belts.
In spite of the use of a seat belt by the driver and the front
passenger, the other passengers in the rear seats are also vulnerable to
danger. It is prudent that the authorities should consider our proposal
to implement and enforce the use of rear seat belts for safety and to
reduce injuries and fatalities. Road accidents are the No. 1 killer.
We suggest that immediate implementation of wearing seat belts in
vehicles plying on the Southern Highway and airport expressways. This
will not only prevent passengers in the vehicle from danger but also
save their lives.
President, Automobile Association of Ceylon.
Relief for Maithri, agony for drug merchants
The National Medicinal Drugs Regulatory Bill was passed in Parliament
with a majority of 67 votes. Only JVP MP Ajith Kumara voted against it.
Ajith Kumara had confessed later that it was because of the joint effort
of the UNP and SLFP members this victory was possible.
Consequent to passing of this long overdue Bill, the prices of all
drugs would be reduced drastically and simultaneously the National
Medicinal Drugs Regulatory Authority will be set up which would provide
for the implementation of medicinal drugs policy which was long pending.
Thus the monopoly of the drug mafia who hitherto were in the
forefront dominated and controlled all prices of drugs would be
It needs to be emphasised that those personnel who attempted to bring
in this Bill even lost their lives while some were bought over by giving
huge sums of money via bribery and corruption by those who represented
the drug mafia. The former Minister of Health Maithripala Sirisena who
was longing for it so desperately wanted it to be implemented. These
facts he told Parliament. He had confessed that his efforts were
thwarted on several occasions. Once the Draft Bill had been sent to the
Attorney General’s department for approval but unfortunately after the
Attorney General had retired the Draft Bill disappeared. No inquiry had
taken place to trace the culprits. He is also well aware that Rs. 400
million was collected from many drug companies-Rs. 25 lakhs each, but no
one knows who benefited from this huge sum.
During the recently concluded presidential election, President
Maithripala Sirisena made a promise that within 100 days in the event he
is elected President, he would ensure that this long-awaited Drugs Bill
will be passed. The President thus fulfilled this promise, he must be