Says National Medicines Regulatory Authority should recognise SLCPI as key stakeholder of health sector
The 54th AGM of the Sri Lanka Chamber of Pharmaceutical Industry was held earlier this month with Minister of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Dr. Rajitha Senarathne gracing the occasion as Chief Guest whilst National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) Chairman Prof. Lal Jayakody was Guest of Honour.
Guest speaker Prof. Asitha de Silva addressed the gathering on ‘Developing better medicines to reduce premature deaths’.
The Minister in his address informed the audience that his ministry has enjoyed mutually respectful and cordial relations with the Sri Lanka Chamber of the Pharmaceutical Industry since his assumption of duties as the Minister of Health. He stated that he was well aware that the SLCPI fully supported the establishment and the functioning of the NMRA, stressing that he wished for these relationships to continue into the foreseeable future.
SLCPI Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne addressing the gathering
Another subject touched on by the Minister was a need for allopathic practice to merge with the goodness of our age old Ayurvedic systems at some future date in a way that would benefit our population. He said that he would soon commission a research study to facilitate this process, going on to highlight the miraculous cures offered by Ayurvedic medicine to mankind; and that combining the Ayurvedic and Allopathic systems would help patients to recover faster.
Prof. Asitha de Silva spoke of the benefits human beings have derived from the discovery of life saving medicines. “Statins for instance have drastically reduced human mortalities during the past decade. This class of drugs certainly should be classified as a breakthrough in human history. Similarly, extensive medical research undertaken by pharmaceutical companies in Europe as well as in the USA is remarkable.”
The professor pointed out that people, no matter in what country they are placed, are entitled to be recipients of medical innovations that keep emerging periodically with the advancement of research. He also cited significant achievements in cancer research, which has benefited countless human beings across the world.
National Medicinal Regulatory Authority Chairman Prof. Lal Jayakody thanked the SLCPI for the cooperation extended to the NMRA in its activities so far. He highlighted the difficulties under which the NMRA has to conduct its activities due to the shortage of pharmacists and adequate office and storage space. However, he gave an assurance that the NMRA would strive to deliver the best possible services to the SLCPI at all times despite difficulties faced.
President of the SLCPI Col. Chandra Jayaratne in his address thanked the Minister for his presence and requested him to obtain the required funds from the General Treasury to equip the National Medicinal Regulatory Authority with the required manpower, especially in the pharmacists’ cadre, which formed the backbone of the Regulatory Division. He reiterated the importance of this for pharmaceutical companies, in order for them to deliver an effective and speedy evaluation of the registration dossiers submitted by them. He also drew the Minister’s attention to the acute need for working and storage space for the NMRA, to enable it to cope with the enhanced number of registration dossiers reaching the authority.
However, Col. Jayaratne expressed his dissatisfaction of the NMRA’s refusal to recognise the SLCPI as a stakeholder in the health sector of the country. He reiterated that in reality the SLCPI was an equal if not bigger stakeholder in this sector, having delivered yeoman service to the nation over the past several decades by providing quality medicines, which has helped Sri Lanka enormously to emerge as one of the healthiest nations in the whole of Asia. He said that furthermore, the very reason for the formation of the NMRA was the presence of pharmaceutical companies. The SLCPI president stated that this was an attempt on the part of the NMRA to degrade and insult the pharmaceutical industry, which forms an integral part of the health sector of this country.
In culmination he assured the SLCPI membership that he along with his newly elected team of office bearers and the executive committee would do their utmost to take up the issues hindering their business activities with the respective regulatory authorities as well as the Ministry of Health, during his tenure of office.