The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce is concerned about recent developments in the healthcare sector, particularly regarding the quality of pharmaceutical products procured for the public healthcare system. While the shortage of essential medicines has stemmed from the economic crisis, it persists due to the lack of a robust and transparent procurement system.
We recommend that swift action be taken to ensure and enhance the public procurement of medicines in a transparent manner which requires registration with the regulator following approved and established guidelines. The National Medicines Regulatory Authority must play a much stronger, transparent, and independent role in ensuring that high-quality medicines are procured, including essential medicines that are procured through an emergency process.
Further, the pricing of medicines should adopt a market pricing formula developed by relevant experts similar to that adopted for other commodities such as fuel and gas that were previously subject to price controls. A pricing formula will ensure sustainability in the quality of medicines procured.
We recognise the recent directive of the President to streamline the procurement system. The Ceylon Chamber along with its affiliated associations and professional bodies such as the Sri Lanka Medical Association stand ready to support the policymakers in improving and uplifting the current state of the healthcare system that will benefit the people of the country.