Civil society organisations lobbying for patients’ rights have requested President Sirisena to make available the draft bill on the national drug policy to the public so that a public dialog can be initiated on its contents.
The People’s Movement for Patients Rights in a letter to President Sirisena has pointed out that although before presenting the draft bill before the parliament, all stakeholders who lobbied for its implementation and particularly the public should be aware of its contents.
“Unfortunately this process is not being properly implemented by the relevant divisions,” PMPR Secretary Christine Perera has stated in her letter.
She has listed out the following reasons:
-It is important to make the draft bill available in all three languages but it has not been successfully carried out. Only certain individuals have accessed copies of the draft bill
-On February 16 the Sri Lanka Medical Council had held a close door discussion on the draft bill and only representatives of various medical professionals organisations and pharmaceutical companies had partaken in the meeting
-a similar discussion is due to be held today(24) in the Health Ministry with the participation of only the representatives of the professional organisations of the health sector
“Patients are an important stakeholder in the process of pharmaceutical use and therefore, they are the group who would benefit most from this legislation Therefore, we request you to pave way to raise awareness among the public concerning the contents of this bill,” the PMPR states adding given the past experiences concerning the implementation of the national drug policy, doubts have been raised over the intentions of the current draft due to the secretive manner in which it is being carried out.