Severe shortage of vital drugs prevails in local pharmacies

Severe shortage of vital drugs in Sri Lanka is prevailing in local pharmacies amidst government denials claiming that adequate stocks of medicine readily available, informed sources said.

Pharmaceutical importers say that they are not in a position to import vital drugs owing to the dollar crisis in the country and the difficulty in opening LC in banks for importation in the wake of government restriction.

A shortage of some pharmaceuticals has come to light, with a large number of people also complaining that they are unable to purchase medication even from the state owned ‘Osu Sala’ pharmacies countrywide.

According to marketing survey reports ,there was a shortage of around 200 vital medicinal drugs including medicines for heart ailments, high blood pressure, cancer and immunosuppressive drugs.

There was a  shortage of vital drugs in Sri Lanka and seven essential medicines that are in short supply will be restocked in the next few weeks, a government minister said responding to opposition claims.

Seven essential drugs and 13 non essential drugs have a shortage, which will be rectified over the next few weeks, State Minister Channa Jayasumana told parliament

“Rajitha Senrathna (ex-Health Minister in opposition) said there is a shortage of 27 essential medicines while [SJB MP] Kins Nelson said it is 32 essential drugs and [SJB MP] Gayantha Karunathilka said it is 55,” Jayasumana said.

The state minister insisted that there is no shortage of 14 “vital” drugs used in Sri Lanka at the moment.

“We have 663 essential drugs. Of these, 15 are in short supply but for eight of them, substitutes can be used,” said Jayasumana.

“We have 458 non-essential drugs and of these, 17 are facing a shortage but substitutes can be used for four of those medicines.”

Jayasumna said a delay in restocking was due to the manufacturers being delayed in sending the drugs to Sri Lanka due to the COVID-19 situation in the country.

“There were some issues in financial transactions and transportation,” he said. But we expect these drugs to arrive in the next few weeks as we will hire local shipping services available at the next page.

Sri Lanka is facing forex shortages after the central bank printed money and there are also price controls.

Jayasumana said Sri Lanka has also focused on manufacturing essential medicines in Sri Lanka in the future in a bid to save Sri Lanka’s fast depleting foreign exchange reserves.

Sri Lanka has long tried to do “import substitution” and other quack remedies for balance of payments troubles instead of reforming the central bank law to block activist economists from printing money to keep rates down

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