By: Staff Writer
Colombo (LNW): Medicines, together with surgical and laboratory equipment worth nearly Rs. 350 million was withdrawn from use within the year 2022, on the basis of being defective.
Accordingly, defective medicines, surgical equipment and laboratory equipment worth Rs. 349 million, which had been issued for use at government hospitals, were discarded last year, as per the Auditor General’s report.
The relevant annual report revealed that as there is no existing mechanism within the Medial Supply Division to check how effective certain drugs are prior to being issued to hospitals, such defects are identified only much later, when several patients have already been administered the concerned drug.
Meanwhile, the Auditor General’s Department also revealed that by the end of 2022, some 1,331 positions for doctors, 77 dental surgeons, 2,034 nursing officers, 136 medical laboratory technicians, 68 occupational therapists, 126 pharmacists and 270 auditors were left vacant.
The relevant report also indicated that nearly Rs. 36,192 million had been spent for the payment of overtime and holiday wages, amounting for 72% of the total expenditure for wages.
In furtherance of our commitment to addressing critical healthcare challenges, it is essential to consider augmenting the intake capacity in specific domains.
Currently, there exist stipulated minimum qualifications and approximately 13 medical faculties throughout the country.
Regrettably, only around 2000 individuals are admitted into these institutions. It is evident that there is ample room to expand these numbers, as the intellectual capabilities of the nation’s youth are beyond question.
It is imperative to provide opportunities to those with foundational qualifications who aspire to excel in the medical field, he pointed out.
Reference was made to a report from 2017 highlighting issues related to substandard medications, with subsequent years showing varying numbers of such incidents: 85 in 2018, 96 in 2019, 77 in 2020, 88 in 2021, 86 in 2022 and 43 so far in 2023.
It is worth noting that, in some cases, reports of substandard drugs have emerged years after their approval, registration and utilization.
The Health Ministry has initiated a comprehensive investigation into these reported incidents of inferior quality medicines.
Additionally, there were allegations regarding the shortage of essential medicines, a concern we take seriously and are actively addressing,a senior official of te health ministry disclosed.
The ministry’s on-going commitment remains to bolster our healthcare system, ensure the availability of high-quality medicines and provide opportunities for aspiring medical professionals.
It recognizes the need for continued dialogue and effective action to overcome the challenges facing our healthcare sector and to uphold the well-being of our citizens ,he said
Regarding lower quality medicines, he referenced reports from recent years, indicating that these cases are being addressed.
He affirmed that the government takes such matters seriously and is committed to ensuring the quality and availability of essential medicines for the public.