SL’s free health sector slammed over critical drug shortage
Time:2023-05-26 13:01

While sounding the alarm bell that the shortage of drugs in the country has reached a critical stage, Sri Lanka’s leading medical associations accused the Government of turning a blind eye to the matter.

Speaking with the Daily Mirror, Dr Vinya Ariyaratne, the President of the Sri Lanka Medical Association. (SLMA) said “There is an acute shortage of certain drugs at Government hospitals,”

“Particularly in clinics, doctors are writing prescriptions for patients to buy medicines from outside. In addition, some patients do not take the

proper dosage due to the exorbitant prices of drugs available at private pharmacies. This is a major issue, which needs to be addressed soon,” he stressed.

“The shortage has been prevalent for the last one and half years; however, the government seems to have taken the seriousness of the matter for granted,’ Dr Ariyaratne charged.

He proceeded to say that the process where the donors provide drugs for the Government, has also been hampered owing to several constraints.

Meanwhile, Media Spokesman for the Government Medical Officers' Association (GMOA) Dr. Chamil Wijesinghe told Daily Mirror there is a shortage of over 120 drugs which includes painkillers, drugs for diabetic, cancer and heart patients.

“The dearth of drugs can be seen both in private and government hospitals. In addition, there is also a shortage of surgical and lab items as well,” he said.

Dr Wijesinghe also added that there is no shortage of 14 life-saving drugs. Nevertheless, the prevailing shortage of spate of drugs needs to be addressed as it could lead to a collapse in the health sector.

Moreover, he said several reasons including the lack of funds, complexity and ambiguity in the procurement system and the monopoly of the suppliers can be identified as the causes for the present drug shortage.

A total of 1,347 types of medicines are being used in government hospitals, and hospitals have faced medical shortages since 2022 due to the country’s economic crisis. 


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