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Thursday, December 2, 2021

SPC saved Billions from drug tenders in 2020 – State Minister Channa Jayasumana

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The State Pharmaceuticals Corporation (SPC) has managed to save Rs. 1.14 Billion so far after shifting emergency purchases to normal tenders in 2020, it was revealed in Parliament yesterday (21).

This revelation was made by Production, Supply and Regulation of Pharmaceuticals State Minister Prof. Channa Jayasumana.

He also revealed that the data missing at the National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) belongs to the time period between years 2015 and 2019 and accordingly, the CID has been requested to carry out an investigation in this regard.

State Minister Jayasumana also said that the Government will not hesitate to take legal action against those who are involved in the deletion of NMRA data. The said conclusion has been made examining the unit price of emergency purchases in 2019 and the unit price of normal tenders in 2020. Jayasumana made these observations in reply to a question raised by the Opposition Leader under Standing Orders 27/2 on the recent data disappearance at the NMRA.

Speaking on the matter, State Minister Jayasumana explained the nature of the data which disappeared from the NMRA computer system.

“I will explain what was inside this lost data. The Government has spent an extraordinary amount on certain drugs, especially during the period 2015-2019. We asked the CID to list the drugs and conduct a proper investigation on this. Similarly, we are looking into the matter via the SPC,” Jayasumana explained.

“Captopril 5mg Syrup was purchased in 2019 for Rs. 55,185.00. It has been purchased for Rs.395.00 in 2020 after our Government came into power. That is 138 times the price. The Lorazepam injection was purchased for Rs. 17,957.00. Under our Government we bought it for 373.00. The Metaraminol injection was purchased for Rs. 16,736.00. It was less than Rs. 3,875.00,” State Minister Jayasumana pointed out.

The State Minister also tabled a list of 35 expensive drugs that have been handed over for the investigation.

Jayasumana added, “Also, medicines worth nearly Rs.1,140 million have been procured through so-called emergency purchases. We have informed the CID to conduct an investigation as to how these drugs were purchased at an extraordinary cost. At our request, an investigation is being carried out at the Ministry level. For example, a Rituximab injection has been purchased for Rs. 55,000, but we bought it for Rs. 17,735. The saved amount alone in that instance is Rs.128 million.”

State Minister Jayasumana pointed out that the documents related to these drugs were deleted from the NMRA data cloud. “It is only after the investigations into these drugs that caused losses of billions of rupees to the country, that the said files have been deleted from the Cloud. We are currently working to replace it. Also, after receiving the information from the CID to find out who deleted this data, legal action will definitely be taken against those who are involved.”

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