29 May, 2022


Patients Rights’ Movement Urges Rajitha Not To Remove Chairman And CEO Of NMRA

The People’s Movement for the Rights of Patients ​has today said the organisation is greatly concerned to learn from media reports that the Chairman and CEO of the National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) have been requested to resign.

Rajah  Senaratne - Minister of Health

Rajah Senaratne – Minister of Health

“Ou​r​ attempt​s​ to contact the Health secretary to clarify the reason for this sudden move w​as futile and we have yes to receive any update​. When contacted the Director General of Health Services (DGHS), who is an ex-officio of the NMRA council, too was unaware of this development as he had been away and only returned on 1st February morning from abroad.” the People’s Movement for the Rights of Patients (PMRP) said in a statement.

The PMRP said; “The council of NMRA is an independent body comprising of professionals and there should be no political interference into their operation. It is clear that politicians act on reports provided by ministry officials​, individuals and the industry with vested interest that ​have​ always been sabotaging the National Medicines Drug Policy from its inception.

“As it is only few months since the authority was established, it is only fair that the council be given adequate time to clear the accumulated backlog from the previous administration. If there were shortcoming in the working of the authority an explanation could have been called for rather than taking hasty decisions like this detrimental to the patients.

“We, the civil society, feel the present Chairman and CEO are possibly the best suited professionals, who as far as we know are incorruptible to serve in this role in current circumstances.

“If, as the media reports new appointments have already been made, this is in contravention of the guidelines laid down in the National Medicines Regulatory Authority, Act 5 of 2015.

“Therefore, we strongly request the Minister of Health to reconsider this hasty decision in the interest of the patient community.”

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Latest comments

  • 1

    As someone who very nearly met a premature death thanks to DUD medications supplied by the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation, I fail to see what all the excitement is about the removal of those who, very obviously, bear the responsibility for the corruption that results in death to those who do not have the wherewithal to purchase “name brand” meds. in private pharmacies or choose to support a supposedly state-regulated entity.
    I would IF these great defenders of the recently-deposed bureaucrats are interested enough be prepared to supply them with samples of the medications that very nearly resulted in my death.
    An email via the website of the SPC has not, up to date, elicited so much as an acknowledgement despite several months having elapsed.
    Also, would members of this group that is protesting, please identify themselves and their affiliations? I find it curious that they choose to remain incognito despite their howls of protest.

    • 4

      By golly, they should be sacked for that failure alone!

      How the fruck did they stuff up that opportunity for genuine national service? Now we have to wait for a few more years of hell.

      • 0

        Boom Boom:
        Sorry to disappoint you! I intend to live to be 138 years old, the primary purpose being to kick the … out of cowards like you who hide behind pseudonyms.
        Haven’t you heard that, “Only the good die young?” And believe you me, I have the capacity to be REALLY BAD, even if it is to lesser forms of life like you!

    • 7

      Mr Emil van der Poorten,

      I am privy to the shenanigans of some drug-importing “characters” who were involved with the previous regime/ministers and all I can say is I am not surprised about the DUD medications and your experience.

      This is not a comment about what happened to you but about the two people who were supposed to have been sacked.

      I know them both quite well. As far as their integrity is concerned, I would say they are bullet-proof; and that’s a rare thing in SL. They were only appointed recently and I am not sure if they had the time, the resources and the support of the rest of the set-up (please understand that the Rajapakse-regime had a special talent to corrupt entire departments from top to bottom) to clean-up the whole mess.

      They are both professors from the Colombo Med-School’s Department of Pharmacology. As far as knowledge and experience are concerned you won’t find two more suitable people than Lal Jayakody and Chrishantha Weerasuriya. Lal Jayakody has been a prof for very long years. Chirishantha Weerasuriya, sometimes can be an arrogant, stuck-up AH but his knowledge and experience working in many places around the world is matchless in SL. I am no fan of Weerasuriya, but truth be told – my likes and dislikes are not what matters here – I’ll be very sad to see them go. SL couldn’t have found two better people for this task. I am waiting for Rajitha’s explanation if ever there would be one.

      • 5

        Nimal fernando
        You spoke my mind. They complement each other in their skills.
        It was a previlage to study under them.

      • 3

        nimal fernando:
        It seems I owe an apology to the two gentlemen who, obviously, were in the wrong place at the wrong time and paid the price their predecessors should have.

        I also learned that a major hospital has recently elevated one of the Genuflectory Brigade from the Rajapaksa years to the pinnacle of the organization!

        It is becoming increasingly evident that it pays dividends (major ones!) now for having actively supported the MR1 then!

        What the hell is going on in this Ohey Palayang administration?

  • 3

    Ministert insteard of removing Chairman and ECO should provide all the support for these genuine people to reduce cost of drugs and not play into the hands of drug dealers. State Phramasutical Corp should take the initiative to distribute these drugs, which are not imported or not released to cook up scarcity to make the life miserable to the public

  • 1

    The importation of drugs is fraught with lobby pressures from international corporations (“Big Pharma” as they call it) exerting their influence to sell their name brand drugs at exorbitant costs in a global economy that focuses today on the bottom line and not on patient care or the Hippocratic Oath.
    Enactment to make legal the List of Drugs compiled by the highly respected Professor Senaka Bibile has been kept on hold in Sri Lanka for many years, including during the terms of President Sirisena as Minister of Health. Despite the efforts of academics the Bibile List which had been earlier approved/accepted by the WHO, never got off the ground.

    I do not know what positions the 2 academics who have been removed from office had taken, but it is more than likely that they had acted in the best interests of the people of this nation, and one suspects that the current Minister has been prevailed upon to dismiss them in order that the name-brand products rather than their equivalent generics be imported by the SPC.

    There are huge corporate profits, big-time corruption as well as lobby money involved in the global ‘pharma’ business. It is the GMOA and the doctors themselves who should have this resolved so that their own reputations are not tarnished. Perhaps both name brand and generic drugs (latter from tested and proven reliable 3rd world companies) could be imported in some valid proportion so that the less wealthy who cannot afford the high costs of the name brands can purchase the generics at reasonable cost, while those willing to pay high prices for the name-brands also can purchase them.

    At the end of the day it is the ethical principles on which the SL Medical Profession practices and makes its decisions that would decide its global reputation, now that Sri Lanka is attempting to market its expertise internationally as a Global Medical Destination. Profit should NOT be the motive as that would be but a SHORT-TERM objective.
    The govt should ensure that the Baby is not thrown out with the Bath Water.

  • 2

    The minister is under coercion by the drug mafia.
    Their threat has worked – or, has he been bought over – I hope not.

    Those interested can download
    British National Formulary
    which gives all information about drugs – generic & trade names, UK prices, indications, dosage, interactions etc.

  • 2

    Sri Lanka provided Professor Bibile to the UN and the World to streamline the policy on essential drugs, which helped many countries in the world to save millions of lives at affordable cost. He died while he was in action. Many people still believe his death was NOT due to a natural cause!

    In his own country Bibile’s contribution is yet to be realized. Being the former health minister H E the President of Sri Lanka is well aware of this. We can never have more competent people in Sri Lanka than those two professors (?) who have been asked to resign. One of them is already sought by many developing nations to help introduce their essential drug policy, who has been advising countries in need to train them on global agreements relating to Globalization and Trade.

    Even in the USA one democratic party candidate has exposed this issue of “Drug Mafia” in public in his efforts to get nomination from his party.
    By removing these professors from NMRA the concept of Professor Bibile’s principles are killed in Sri Lanka!


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