Pharma Chamber to promote fair pricing mechanism | Sunday Observer

Pharma Chamber to promote fair pricing mechanism

Kasturi Chellaraja
Kasturi Chellaraja

The Sri Lanka Chamber of the Pharmaceutical Industry (SLCPI) is keen to partner with the Government to implement a fair pricing mechanism which will provide patients greater accessibility to a wider range of quality medicines, said SLCPI President Kasturi Chellaraja at the 59th Annual General Meeting of the Chamber last week.

"We are prepared to partner with the Government to implement a fair pricing mechanism," she said, adding that pricing regulations, the devaluation of the rupee, an overall rise in the rate of inflation and the absence of a price mechanism has posed great challenges to the industry in recent years.

Unlike other import-heavy essentials such as fuel, pharmaceutical products are not subject to a pricing mechanism recognised by the industry and the regulator.

She said that the burden of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in the island and the large proportion of people living with NCDs had risen and with that, the dependency on routine access to their medicines.

"We need to help the government in the prevention and cure of NCDs in Sri Lanka. Providing quality medicine is what we are mandated to do. We need to look at promoting healthy habits and values among our population," she said.

Chellaraja said that healthcare was moving towards personalised medicine - medical treatment that is tailored to the individual characteristics of each patient - and the pharmaceutical industry had an important role to play in delivering responsible and quality medicines. "We are all Sri Lankans. Yes, we run businesses, but the well-being of patients should be our priority," she emphasised.Managing Director of Hemas Pharmaceuticals and now CEO of the Group, Chellaraja was elected unanimously to head the Chamber in 2020/21.

"Covid-19 presented unprecedented challenges. Most of our businesses are struggling but the industry placed patients and the country as our first priority. We assured the country and the Health Minister that there would be no drug shortages and there weren’t," she said.

The SLCPI currently serves as the representative of over 60 members who account for over 80% of the private pharmaceutical industry. These stakeholders supply patients with 800 molecules from 364 manufacturers across the world.