The Sri Lanka Chamber of Pharmaceutical Industry (SLCPI) wishes to announce that despite the negative economic impact consequent to the implementation of the price ceiling on 48 essential molecules, SLCPI members have made every effort possible, to ensure the continuity of the supply of medicines to the market.

The SLCPI is happy to announce that its membership has already compensated or are in the process of compensating all retailers and regional distributors for the stocks at hand at the time of introducing the pricing mechanism.  In this manner, retailers and distributors would be protected from heavy losses due to the price reduction. Any delay in the process is purely due to administrative reasons as assessing the stock levels of over 3000 outlets is time-consuming and challenging in the absence of online data.

However, there might be a few brands, particularly those originating from developed countries, which may not be available in the local market in future, due to the companies having no option but to exit, as they are finding it difficult to market their products at the stipulated prices. In spite of this, the affected companies are in the process of evaluating all possible options to remain in the market.

While the SLCPI reaffirms its commitment towards working closely with the MOH and the regulators in providing the best possible Healthcare solutions to the citizens of Sri Lanka, the Chamber is also concerned about the repercussions of pharmaceutical products exiting the Lankan market.   This eventuality could not only lead to patients being deprived of medicines they are used to purchasing, but also runs the risk of illegal imports and spurious products flooding the market.  This situation would also open the doors to unscrupulous black marketeers who would not be concerned about transport conditions etc. which would not be in compliance with the necessary quality standards, placing lives in danger.

The SLCPI has always maintained the view that a practical pricing formula will ensure the access of quality medicines at affordable prices to satisfy the varying needs of society ranging from the less affluent to the more affluent, so that neither are at risk. “Illegal and spurious pharmaceutical imports are global problems that are already impacting international markets. Therefore, we need to ensure measures to minimize these dangerous risk factors that could hamper an already good healthcare service in Sri Lanka,” says Palitha Jayatilleke, President of the SLCPI.

Especially in this light, the SLCPI says the announcement by the Minister of Health, the Government’s intention of setting up a quality assurance laboratory to ensure the availability of quality drugs to the citizens of Sri Lanka is a welcome one.

Apart from that, says Palitha Jayatilleke “It is important that a pricing mechanism ensures the availability of products at affordable prices, so that the less affluent have access to the more economical pharmaceuticals, whilst those who prefer to purchase higher priced innovator products have legal access to them instead of having to resort to black market buying or purchasing them overseas. Not only will this benefit all levels of society, it will also send a positive signal to global institutions interested in investing in Sri Lanka as well as minimizing the risk of existing business entities from exiting the market.”

The SLCPI reaffirms their commitment to working closely with the MOH and the regulators in providing the best possible Healthcare solutions.  The chamber is confident that the regulators will take all risk factors in to account in developing a long term pricing mechanism to which SLCPI will offers its maximum cooperation and support.