Sri Lanka to have deals with India, Bangladesh govts for medicine imports

Colombo: The Sri Lankan government will stop emergency purchases of medicine and will enter into government-to-government contracts with India and Bangladesh to curb alleged corruption in the procurement of drugs, Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said on Tuesday.
Sri Lanka’s health sector trade unions have been running a campaign against alleged large-scale corruption in medicine imports due to emergency purchases. They have also blamed the availability of substandard drugs as a result of the practice.
“We will be entering government-to-government contracts with India and Bangladesh for drug imports,” Rambukwella said.
Last year, hospitals throughout the country suffered shortages of even the most essential drugs as the country came to be hit by the worst economic crisis, which was caused by forex shortages for imports.
Rambukwella said 80 per cent of drug imports were coming from India and Bangladesh.
Rambukwella recently survived a no-trust motion in Parliament moved by the main opposition as several deaths were reported at hospitals due to drug shortages and the use of expired injections in some cases.
It was alleged that emergency purchases had led to large-scale corruption which allowed the entry of substandard medicine without the proper quality checks.

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