Research has found the possibility of cutting one-third of the medicines purchased by Sri Lanka, said MP Patali Champika Ranawaka.

He told parliament yesterday (29) the National Medicines Regulatory Authority regulates less than five per cent of the 14,000 medicines it is responsible for.

He asked for the appointment of a top-level committee comprising honest and capable doctors and pharmacologists to carry out the procurements scientifically.

They could determine if each medicine is vital, essential or is a food supplement, said Ranawaka.

Results of the research by Prof. Chandrika Galappatti of the Colombo University is now with the subcommittee on economic stability, which could be of use to reduce the annual medicines bill of more than 300 million US dollars, he said.

Health sector expenditure increased four-fold between 1999 and 2019, but the expectant social indicators have failed to match that increase, noted the MP.

An analysis by KPMG in 2020 has revealed massive irregularities in medicines procurement.

Expressing concerns that these misdeeds continue even today, the MP urged the government to use the hard-earned dollars to save the lives of the patients.

Despite it being called free health, the state invests only 45 per cent, while the public has to pay for the balance 55 pc, he claimed.

A report on all these matters will be prepared in consultation with health experts and submitted to the government and the Health Ministry, he added.

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