No shortage in vital drugs, claims cash-strapped Sri Lanka’s health minister

ECONOMYNEXT – There is no shortage of vital medicines in the country, and all medicines will be restocked by August, Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said.

“There was a shortage of 14 vital or life saving medicines in the first few months this year, but by now all those medicines are in stock,” Rambukwella said speaking in parliament on Wednesday June 22.

Sri Lanka is going through its worst forex crisis in history, creating fuel, gas, medicine and other shortages in the country.

Earlier this year with the forex shortage hitting the economy mainly affecting the import sector, the health sector was forced to minimise medicine use in order to preserve the medicine in stocks for emergency cases.

Due to the medicine shortage, the authorities announced that routine surgeries and other medication will be limited in all hospitals.

Along with donations and financial facilities from nations and international organisations, Sri Lanka was also able to obtain drugs worth 200 million US dollars under the Indian credit line, said Rambukwella.

“We received 25,000 vials of anti-rabies on June 22, and another 400,000 vials of the same drug is scheduled to arrive next month,” he said.

The minister said all the vital medicines have been distributed and are available in pharmacies island wide.

“Of the 668 essential medicines we have listed, we had a shortage for 50 of them by June 21 but by June 22 we had a shortage of only 48,” he said.

“But we have provided substitutes to those medicines, which can be purchased from any pharmacy. This is for these four to five weeks and I believe from August onward we will have stocks of all of these medicines in the country,” he added. (Colombo/Jun23/2022)

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