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No truth in blood sale report - Ministry

There is no truth about the allegations that the Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry is selling blood to foreign countries. The Ministry is in the process of saving Rs 300 million to spend on importing blood components such as IGG and `factors' and use those funds to import other essential drugs, Ministry Secretary Dr Athula Kahandaliyanage said.

Ministry assures

* Blood donors' rights protected

* $ 7 per litre of blood plasma

* Lanka to pay only to process products.

Addressing the press at the Ministry yesterday, Dr Kahandaliyanage said following the procedure followed by any other country, the Ministry took a policy decision and made arrangements to send blood plasma to Reliance, India under a pilot project to obtain IDGG, factors and other components from India.

"Sri Lanka does not have the technology to separate IGG, factors and other components from plasma and import such products annually at a cost of Rs 300 million. The blood bank disposes 50 percent of valuable blood plasma which cause environment hazards," he said.

According to Dr Kahandaliyanage, rights of the blood donors have strictly been protected .

"Under the pilot project it is expected to send blood plasma to India and import other blood products. India has already paid (US$ 7 per litre) for the blood plasma sent. Agreements have been signed for this project. Documents are available to the media. The transaction is clear and there is nothing fishy in it as mentioned in media reports. Under the agreement, Sri Lanka will pay only to process the products. If the pilot project achieves good results, Sri Lanka will call tenders and seek more profitable markets. Sri Lanka will obtain this expensive technology in the future which is very expensive," he said.

National Blood Bank, Director, Dr Ananda Gunasekara said the entire requirements of the country is 300,000 pints of blood per year and the blood bank receives this amount from donors. One vial of IGG costs the Government Rs 20,000. This money will be saved by exporting blood plasma and paying process fee (only) while importing blood products. The money earned by exporting blood plasma to India will be used to upgrade rural blood banks, he said.

 

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