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In a surprise move, the Health Ministry last week decided not to accept the resignation of two officials of the  National Medicinal Drug Regulatory Authority (NMDRA), weeks after they were sacked by Health Minister, Dr. Rajitha Senaratne.

Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne on February 1 removed the Chairman, Prof. Lal Jayakody and its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Prof. Krisantha Weerasuriya.

The two officials had submitted their resignation letters two weeks ago, but the letters were not accepted by the officials.

Prof. Weerasuriya said that his resignation was not accepted and was asked to continue in office. Nation also learned that the Ministry had not accepted the resignation letter of Prof. Jayakody, However, it is also learnt that Prof. Jayakody has no intention of continuing as the Head of the NMDRA any further.

Government Pharmacists Association (GPA) General Secretary Ajith Thilakarathne told Nation there was no valid reason for the two officials to resign in the first place. He however added that Prof. Jayakody will not function as the Chairman, but would remain just board a member.

There were also reports that Dr. Athula Kahanda Liyanage and Dr Kamal Jayasinghe would be appointed to fill the vacancies of the two officials. However, the reports were not confirmed by the officials. Thilakarathne added that the Minister cannot appoint new members to the Board as he had already appointed four officials according to the quota allocated for him.

The NMDRA Bill was passed in parliament last year. The main focus of the Bill was to look at three aspects namely, quality, safety and affordable price of drugs. The Authority is also responsible for the regulation and control of registration, licensing, manufacturing, and importation, and conducting clinical trials. Ensuring the availability of efficacious, safe and good quality medicine also comes under the purview of the Authority.