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Pharma firms call for drug price formula



ECONOMYNEXT –The Sri Lanka Chamber of Pharmaceutical Industries (SLCPI) is calling for a price formula with identified components which will be regularly revised in place of the ad hoc price controls now imposed by a regulator, an official said.

The National Medicine Regulatory Authority (NMRA), Sri Lanka’s medicine regulator, controls over 61 drugs that are imported into the country.

With the recent strengthening of the rupee against the US dollar, prices of the 61 controlled drugs have lowered by 16 percent from this month after negotiations with the industry.

Drug firms have seen costs go up as the rupee fell.

Though import costs have fallen with the central bank strengthening the rupee, drug storage and supply involves multiple costs which have gone up with electricity prices, according to the industry.

“We believe it is crucial to factor in the unique expenses associated with the pharmaceutical sector,” M. Prathaban, the newly elected president of the SLCPI, at its annual general meeting.

“This includes cold chain maintenance, temperature control of warehouses and retail outlets, transportation, as well as heating.”

Prices should be reviewed on a regular basis, he said.

“All these variables should be included, and then we need to arrive at a mechanism,” Prathaban said.

“We can define whether we review it every 3 months or later every 1 month,”

“We are hopeful that within the next 3-4 months, we will be able to develop a fair and workable price mechanism that takes into account these industry-specific expenses.”

Changing management and administration of authorities as well as software problems at the medical regulator had complicated matters.

“Over the past 5 years, there have been frequent changes in the administration of institutions, resulting in a lack of stability,” he said.

“Additionally, there have been issues with the e-platform, which recurred, and a significant backlog in the day-to-day operations.”

“These challenges have left the industry in a state of uncertainty and have required constant engagement to handle even simple matters.

Nevertheless, with the recent appointment of a new CEO, we have seen improvements and consistency of performance, which has led to optimism among suppliers that they can place their confidence in the institution.”

The industry also wants a drug registration fee now defined in US dollar to be redefined in rupees.

“Regulatory fees were increased exorbitantly with the introduction of the NMRA Act in 2016,” he said.

“In addition, the fees were defined in US dollars, making them susceptible to exchange fluctuations.

“You can’t change that on a monthly basis based on dollar fluctuations. I see. So you want to have a rupee-based registration fee for the month.”

The basis for charging the fee should also be revised, he said.


President orders probe into judge’s resignation



By Saman Indrajith

President Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is currently in Berlin, yesterday ordered his Secretary Saman Ekanayake to launch a probe into the resignation of Mullaitivu District Judge and Magistrate, T. Saravanarajah, who heard the controversial Kurundimale temple case. The judge has cited receiving death threats as the reason for his resignation.

Judge Saravanarajah had not informed either the police or the Judicial Service Commission of the alleged death threats to him, sources said.

In a letter dated 23 September, 2023, addressed to the Judicial Services Commission, Judge T. Saravanarajah conveyed his decision to step down from various judicial roles including District Judge, Magistrate, Family Court Judge,

Primary Court Judge, Small Claims Court Judge, and Juvenile Court Judge.President’s Secretary Saman Ekanayake held discussions on the judge’s resignation with Minister of Justice Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe and Minister of Public Security Tiran Alles. It was revealed that the judge had not lodged any formal complaint of the alleged death threats prior to his resignation.

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China pledges steadfast support to Sri Lanka



Ambassador Qi Zhenhong

China will continue to firmly support Sri Lanka in pursuing a development path that suits its own national conditions, getting rid of the “poverty trap” and the “trap of non-development”, and safeguarding its independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and national dignity, Ambassador Qi Zhenhong said at the 74th National Day Reception of the People’s Republic of China on Thursday.

Given below are excerpts of the Chinese Ambassador’s speech: “Right now, changes of the world, of our times and of history are unfolding in ways like never before, which leads to rapidly growing uncertainty, instability and unpredictability.

In view of these global challenges, President Xi Jinping has put forward three crucial global initiatives, namely the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative. We urge all countries to respect each other, seek common ground while reserving differences, and work together to meet the challenges of our times and build a community with a shared future for mankind.

“This year also marks the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping. Over the past 10 years under the BRI cooperation, more than 150 countries, including Sri Lanka, and 32 international organizations, have made great progress in connectivity, infrastructure, trade, and investment, with about 3,100 joint projects bringing tangible benefits to the world. As the Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka, I am more than happy to highlight the major projects between our two countries, such as the Katunayake Expressway, the Southern Expressway, the CICT, the Hambantota Port and the Port City Colombo, etc.

“No matter how the world changes, China and Sri Lanka are good neighbours with mutual respect and trust, good partners with mutual benefit, and good friends who help each other. China’s friendly policy towards Sri Lanka is for all political parties and all people of Sri Lanka and maintains continuity and stability. In the past decades, many landmarks, such as the BMICH, the Supreme Court Complex, the Nelum Pokuna Theatre, the Polonnaruwa Kidney Disease Hospital and the National Hospital Out-Patient Department Building, have been gifted by the Chinese people to the Sri Lankan people.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19, especially when Sri Lanka was faced with the economic challenges last year, China has been supporting Sri Lanka to the best of its ability. It includes not only providing emergency assistance from all walks of life in China, but also being the first to reach out to Sri Lanka to properly deal with its debt issues.

More importantly, China will continue to firmly support Sri Lanka in pursuing a development path that suits its own national conditions, getting rid of the “poverty trap” and the “trap of non-development”, and safeguarding its independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and national dignity.”

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Justice Minister sees police, judiciary and lawyers coming short on ensuring justice for all



The way the police, judiciary and lawyers operate had left much to be desired in ensuring justice for all, Minister of Justice Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said at the National Law Week – 2023 celebrations yesterday.

Dr. Rajapakshe said that in a country with the rule of law, all citizens felt they had access to justice. The Minister said that the country faced a severe economic crisis in 2022. The breakdown of the rule of law was a major reason for the economic crisis, the Justice Minister said.

Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya said at the same event that people needed to understand the roles and functions of the judiciary, police, mediation boards and other institutions of justice in order to obtain a satisfactory service.

“These institutions are there to ensure everyone has equal access to justice. If these institutions were not there, the rich and the powerful would always get their way,” the CJ said.

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