by M. Zulkifli Nazim
( April 20, 2017, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) “Dr. Rajitha Senaratne’s move with regard to the bringing down the price of drugs is laudable; but there are also negative side-effects as a result of this move. Certain drugs that are being imported by those in the pharmaceuticals trade have been subject to an incalculable amount of inconvenience and hardship where the manufacturers/suppliers have refused to come down so drastically on the drugs they are supplying. Naturally, the importation of those drugs have come to a stand-still, and consequently, the patients are suffering untold agony and hardship.
What is the alternative that Dr. Senaratne has implemented to import the drugs essential for the survival of the patients using them?
Most of the Senior Citizens, which includes me, have been using drugs for “Hypertension” for over a decade.
Herbesser, A Beta Blocker, is a brand of quality which had been prescribed by our Cardiologist (200 mg. 120mg, 90mg, 60mg and 30mg.) – The Generic Name is Diltiazem Hydrochloride.
It is now almost impossible to get Herbesser in the market. There are substitute drugs having the same generic name, but are actually ineffective. This may be due to:
1. People are psychologically tuned to a particular brand and the non-availability of that brand causes many a disaster to those having a cardiac problem.
2. Those who are supplying substitute drugs at low cost are definitely providing substandard drugs, which do not have the same effectiveness of the original brand.
We are really upset at the non-availability of these drugs and we would rather pay more to get our quality brand rather than be deprived of it.
What about the usage of other drugs for other ailments?
Are those patients facing the same difficulties in obtaining their brand of drugs too?
Another drug, to my knowledge, is Livogen – Which is a “captab” taken by those who are suffering from deficiencies in their Haemoglobin levels. They are so used to this drug, no other alternative was found to be working. So in many instances, we have requested those going to India, to get these drugs for us, for our survival.
Did Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, make arrangements for the importation of those essential drugs that are urgently needed by the suffering patients or does he feel comfortable that he has reduced the prices of drugs, irrespective of disastrous inconveniences faced by the patients?
We earnestly and urgently request Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, to rectify this unnecessary problem which he has caused.
A Problem which has caused emotional anguish and has made the patients miserable.
Something has to be done soon, or there will be another disaster or as is customary, will they be waiting for another medical catastrophe to occur, before taking action?”