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What’s the objective of SLPMC producing drugs locally if they are more costly than Indian products? – GMOF

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What is the rationale of the SLPMC manufacturing drugs locally if they are more expensive than products imported from India?, the Government Medical Officers’ Forum (GMOF) queried.

Local manufacturing of pharmacueticals has become a terminology that’s being used more as a tool for propoganda purposes of shady government officials, who mislead the political hierarchy as it gives an overall picture of nationalistic patriotism, GMOF President, Dr. Rukshan Bellana, asserted at a news conference at the Abhayaramaya Temple in Colombo on Thursday.

Under the cover of a patriotic slogan to buy what is Sri Lankan, some officials are making big bucks as commissions, he charged. “This happened during the former government and continues unabated under the present dispensation as well”.

Dr. Bellana said that the accepted norm under the Health Ministry’s ‘buy back guarantees’ is to maintain the MRP (Maximum Retail Price) for the specific duration of the agreement. However, what’s happening now is that prices of locally produced drugs are increased virtually every three months, which is highly irregular.

Some SLPMC officials are having a rolicking time, he claimed. “The more the prices of the products are pushed up, the more they benefit as some manufacturing companies have no option but to see to their comforts”.

The whole objective of producing drugs locally is to offer them at affordable prices to patients. What is the purpose served if the products are more expensive than Indian imports?, Dr. Bellana asked.

“We expected the present government to probe irregularities at the SLPMC during the previous regime. However, nothing happened. A relative of a former senior official in the previous government was appointed to a top slot and the sing-along continues, while patients have to fork out more money to buy their medicines”, the trade union president further asserted.

GMOF secretary, Dr. Kamal Perera and Dr. Nandika Sembukuttiarachchi and Dr. Kumarasiri Manage, assistant  secretaries, were also present at the news conference.



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Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’

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By Norman Palihawadane and Ifham Nizam

The Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) yesterday arrested six suspects in the Sapugaskanda Rathgahawatta area with more than 100 kilos of Crystal Methamphetamine also known as Ice.

Police Media Spokesman, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ajith Rohana told the media that the PNB sleuths, acting on information elicited from a suspect in custody had found 91 packets of Ice.

A man in possession of 100 kilos of heroin was arrested in Modera during the weekend and revealed that a haul of Ice had been packed in plastic boxes.

The PNB seized more than 114 kilos of Ice from the possession of a single drug network.

According to the information elicited from the suspects, more than 100 kilos of Ice were found.

The PNB also arrested six persons including two women with 13 kilos of Ice, during an operation carried out in the Niwandama area in Ja-Ela on Sunday.

DIG Rohana said the ice had been packed in small plastic boxes and hidden in two school bags.

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PM intervenes to iron out differences among coalition partners

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By Norman Palihawadane

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that he was confident that differences among the constituents of the SLPP coalition as regards the May Day celebrations and the next Provincial Council elections could be ironed out soon.

Leaders of all SLPP allied parties have been invited to a special meeting to be held at Temple Trees with the PM presiding on April 19.

Prime Minister Rajapaksa said it was natural for members of a political alliance to have their own standpoints and views on matters of national importance. “This is due to the different political ideologies and identities. It is not something new when it comes to political alliances world over. In a way, it shows that there is internal democracy within our alliance.

The PM said: “As a result of that the allied parties may express their own views on issues, but that does not mean there is a threat to the unity of the alliance. An alliance is more vibrant and stronger not when all the parties think on the same lines but when the member parties have different ideologies.”

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Thilo Hoffman remembered

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A copy of the book “Politics of a Rainforest: Battles to save Sinharaja” was handed over to Dominik Furgler, the Swiss Ambassador in Sri Lanka by the author of the book, Dr. Prasanna Cooray at the Swiss Embassy in Colombo last Tuesday, to be sent to the family of the late Thilo Hoffman in Switzerland.

Hoffman, a Swiss national, who made Sri Lanka his second home for six decades, was a pioneering environmental activist who led the battles to save Sinharaja from the front in the early 1970s, abreast with the likes of Iranganie Serasinghe, Kamanie Vitharana, Lynn De Alwis and Nihal Fernando of the “Ruk Rekaganno” fame. That was the era when the trees of Sinharaja were felled for the production of plywood by the then government. Hoffman was also a livewire of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) for a long time. Hoffman died in 2014 at the age of 92.

The book includes a chapter on Thilo Hoffman.

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