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Kumudesh questions Keheliya’s stand on drugs imported outside procedure

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

There was no way the Health Minister could ensure the quality of the drugs that are not registered in Sri Lanka, the President of the College of Medical Laboratory Science (CMLS), Ravi Kumudesh, told The Island yesterday.

Recently, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said in Kandy that it took between six to 12 months to bring down medicines with the approval of the National Medicines egulatory Authority (NMRA). To address the current shortage of drugs, the government had imported drugs used in developed nations, although they were not registered here, the Minister said. If there were side effects, he would take responsibility, Rambukwella added.

Kumudesh said the problem is not that Indian drugs were bad. “There are high quality drug manufacturers there. However, the Minister’s claim that he will take personal responsibility if something goes wrong, is ludicrous. What will he do? What can he do?” Kumudesh asked, adding that certain experts were prejudiced against the Indian drugs. On the other hand, the Minister is pushing the NMRA to accept Indian drugs. This tug of war has also contributed to the shortage of drugs and the procurement of low-quality drugs, he added.

“Ensuring the quality of drugs is the responsibility of the NMRA. Neither the Minister nor Health Ministry officials can take that responsibility,” he said, adding that some experts that advise the NMRA on technical issues are staunchly anti-Indian and that prevented cheap but quality drugs and chemicals being procured.

“The Minister says the NMRA takes a long time to test and register drugs. This is not true. There are ways to fast-track the process. Why is the Minister supporting the import of unregistered drugs? If the drugs are used in Japan and the EU, surely the NMRA will approve them,” he said.



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Keheliya, seven others further remanded till 28th June

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The Maligakanda Magistrate’s Court today [14] ordered that former Minister of Health Keheliya Rambukwella and seven others be further remanded until June 28 by over the import of substandard human Immunoglobulin vials.

 

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President launches Public Learning and Education Platform for Sri Lankan Youth

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe officially launched www.publiclearn.lk a new education platform aimed at transforming Sri Lanka’s learning landscape at the Chamber Hall of the Presidential Secretariat, on Thursday [13]

Public Learn is a platform that guides users to free courses from the world’s top universities. .

Emphasizing the importance of adapting to a knowledge-intensive society, the President highlighted Sri Lanka’s strong educational results despite various systemic flaws. He noted that the new platform would enhance the education system’s effectiveness and stressed that Sri Lanka must swiftly advance in digitization to drive the new economic transformation.

President Wickremesinghe highlighted that the Public Learn platform serves as a crucial tool for enabling many Sri Lankans to advance personally and transform their nation. He reflected on Sri Lanka’s historical learning journey in three phases: first, during the era of Arahath Mahinda and the Pirivena system; second, with the introduction of the British public school system; and now, with the advent of digital education platforms like Public Learn, marking the third phase. He emphasized the importance of leveraging digital technology and knowledge to propel Sri Lanka forward in the digital economy, underscoring the need for continuous adaptation and innovation.

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Easter Sunday carnage: ‘Another probe nothing but an exercise in futility’

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Rev. Father Cyril Gamini

‘Implement PCoI recommendations at least now’

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The Catholic Church yesterday (14) reiterated its longstanding demand that the recommendations made by the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (P CoI) into 2019 Easter Sunday attacks be implemented.

Rev. Father Cyril Gamini Fernando said so when The Island sought the Catholic Church’s reaction to the appointment by President Ranil Wickremesinghe a new committee of inquiry to investigate the actions and responses of the country’s intelligence and security authorities following the intelligence warning received from India.

The committee is headed by retired Judge Ms. A. N. J. de Alwis. Rev. Fernando said that the government should implement the recommendations made by the PCoI headed by Supreme Court judge Janak de Silva. He said another inquiry would be nothing but an exercise in futility as the PCoI conducted an in-depth investigation into the Easter attacks, including the failure on the part of the intelligence apparatus to act on foreign intelligence as well neutralise the growing threat posed by extremist elements.

Rev. Fr. Fernando questioned the rationale behind re-examining the conduct of State Intelligence Service (SIS) and Chief of National Intelligence (CNI) as the Supreme Court in January last year ordered Senior DIG Nilantha Jayewardena and retired DIG Sisira Mendis, who headed the SIS and functioned as CNI, respectively, to pay compensation to the tune of Rs 75 mn and Rs 10 mn.

“What is there to investigate again?” Rev Fernando asked, urging the government to go through the PCoI recommendations in respect of politicians and security officials.

In addition to the PCoI report, the report of the Parliamentary Select Committee and a Special Investigation Committee of three members appointed by the then President Maithriapla Sirisena probed the Easter carnage, Rev Fernando said, adding that if those in parliament were still interested in justice and fair play should look into that matter.

Rev. Fernando urged the government to examine how successive leaders had responded to PCoI findings. When President Gotabaya Rajapaksa appointed a committee consisting of six MPs to look into the PCoI report and its findings soon after justice Janak de Silva handed over his report on Feb 1, 2021 it became clear that the powers that be would resort to old tactics. Nearly two years after President Rajapaksa’s ouster, the situation remained the same, Rev. Fernando said, adding that the Church wouldn’t give up its fight for justice.

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