Hospitals sources refute drug shortage claims | Sunday Observer

Hospitals sources refute drug shortage claims

A required amount of drugs is available in hospitals across the country, despite allegations by the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) on a shortage of essential drugs, Ministry and hospitals sources told the Sunday Observer yesterday.

The doctors’ trade union announced last week that several essential drugs are not in government hospitals, including Kandy, Karapitiya, Matara, Mahiyangana, Ampara and Nawalapitiya hospitals. According to the GMOA, several lifesaving drugs are also short in some hospitals.

However, Health Ministry Medical Supplies Division Deputy Director-General Dr D.R.K. Herath denied the allegations. “I visited the Nawalapitiya hospital yesterday to find out the truth behind these stories. What I found was a normal situation. There is no shortage of drugs as highlighted,” Dr Herath said.

Dr Herath had discussed with the hospital director, consultants and pharmacists in the Nawalapitiya hospital, where he found no shortage of drugs. “If there is a drug shortage, the hospital can receive drugs from the Regional Medical Supplies Division or Main Medical Supplies Division in Colombo. In an event where both stores do not possess the drug, we have vested power in hospital directors to supply drugs through local purchasing. Hence, a severe drug shortage is not possible,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kandy Teaching Hospital Director Dr. Saman Ratnayake also told the Sunday Observer yesterday that there is no critical situation in terms of drug supply as highlighted by the GMOA. “Even when we are short of drugs, we have the authority to purchase drugs locally. Hence, I do not see a shortage in drugs in the hospital,” he said.

A senior officer of the Matara General Hospital on the condition of anonymity said that there is no drug shortage in Matara district hospitals.

However, another hospital director told the Sunday Observer that there are small issues with regard to purchasing drugs from the local market. “Sometimes we face difficulties in finding certain medicines. The easiest step we follow is requesting the drug from nearby hospitals. But we never let patients suffer due to drug shortages,” he said.