Drug supplies at state hospitals hit rock bottom

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By Sujeewa Thathsara

Main hospitals in the country only have medicines adequate for a few days, General Secretary of the Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) Dr. Haritha Aluthge told The Island yesterday. Dr. Aluthge said that according to standard practice, main hospitals needed to have stocks of medicine sufficient for one month.

He said that the government needed to take a serious look at the state of the health system and take immediate steps to address the drug shortage.

“The health system has survived this year because of the dedication and ingenuity of health staff, and the support of philanthropists. However, this is not a sustainable system,” he said.

Dr. Aluthge added that there was a shortage of 160 essential medicines including drugs used to treat cancers, STDs and for anaesthesia.

“These drugs aren’t in the central medical storage either. Depending on donations is not a solution,” he said.

Speaking to the media on Tuesday, Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Health Dr. R.M.S.K Ratnayake said the hospital system faced a shortage of only 22 drugs out of the 683 essential medicines.

Dr. Ratnayake said several foreign loans had been obtained for procuring the required drugs. However, due to unexpected developments there had been delays in purchasing drugs, he said.However, the situation would be rectified in the next two to three weeks, he said, urging hospitals to manage their medical supplies for a few weeks.

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