Dr. S.A. Wickremasinghe and the National Drugs Policy
Thursday, 12 February 2015 00:15
Dr. S.A. Wickremasinghe was a medical doctor and he practised in the Southern Province. His years of experience in prescribing medicines made him aware of the difficulties suffered by patients. He was also a Member of Parliament.
He was a very skilled and caring doctor. Once, during the JVP time, when talking to a constituent who had come to tell him about his son having been taken away by the police, he noticed certain physical signs. He told me to take the man to hospital immediately, in Dr Wickremasinghe’s own car, with a letter to the doctor on duty. There he was given emergency treatment and a life was saved.
In the Government of the 1970 United Front, Dr. Wickremasinghe was MP for Akuressa. At a meeting of the Government’s parliamentary group he raised the question of the hardships and unnecessary cost to patients of one and the same drug being sold at higher prices under different brand names. Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike and other members of the parliamentary group took this seriously. As a result a committee of two was set up to study and make recommendations - Dr. S.A. Wickremasinghe and Dr. Senaka Bibile, the latter being Professor of Pharmacology. Dr. Wickremasinghe›s family members remember how happy he was when he came home from Parliament and told them about this.Professor Bibile came to Dr. Wickremasinghe›s Borella residence several times to discuss the report, which was completed and published under the names of both Bibile and Wickremasinghe.
Dr. Wickremasinghe and Professor Bibile are now no more. Now, after long delay, the National Drugs Policy, which is based on their report, is to be implemented. At this time I wish to point out that not only Professor Bibile but Dr S.A. Wickremasinghe too should be remembered.
Former Private Secretary to Dr. S.A. Wickremasinghe, MP Akuressa