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Drugs shortage will end soon - Minister Sirisena

Two local companies at the Katunayake FTZ have been producing surgical and experimental gloves during the past 22 years; but the Health Ministry did not know the companies existed.

The companies exported their goods, while the ministry imported the same items at a high price. Arrangements have been made to change the procedure of purchasing drugs, laboratory and surgical items, Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena said.

Minister Sirisena said under the guidance of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the outdated purchasing procedure of drugs, laboratory items and surgical items will be changed after Cabinet approval.

The Treasury has already approved the new process. The two local companies that produce surgical and experimental gloves have been contacted to purchase their goods.

Minister Sirisena said the Health Ministry requires around 24,000 surgical items and around 1,400 drugs annually.

He said the ministry calls for 4,500 tenders every year to purchase these items.

Under the new system, tenders will be called and laboratory and surgical items purchased for two or three years to prevent shortages.

Drugs will be purchased annually because of their expiry dates and other quality requirements, the minister said.

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