Anaesthetic from India blamed for two deaths at Peradeniya Hospital

National Medicines Regulatory Authority - NMRA Sri Lanka

The anaesthetic which is believed to have caused two deaths at the Peradeniya Teaching Hospital had been procured through the Indian Credit Line, Dr. Vijith Gunasekera from the National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) told journalists on Monday (June 19).

Dr. Gunasekera said certain drugs obtained under the Indian Credit line were used in Sri Lanka without being registered with the NMRA.

He said Sri Lanka, facing a severe shortage of essential items, including drugs, had relied heavily on loans from various countries and organisations for the procurement of drugs. He cited lack of testing capacity as a hindrance to examining every batch of imported drugs.

Peradeniya Teaching Hospital Director Arjuna Thilakarathna confirmed that the specific drug had been received under the Indian Credit Line.

The Ministry of Health has initiated an inquiry to determine the cause of the deaths.

In recent months, there have been other concerning reports related to Indian-made drugs. Thilakarathna said a woman had died two months back after an Indian-made anaesthetic was administered to her. He said another woman admitted to the same hospital had died after being given the same Indian anaesthetic.

In May 2023, doctors at Nuwara Eliya General Hospital reported that several patients who had received Indian medicines after eye surgery had suffered visual impairment.

Those incidents led to questions being raised about the quality of imported drugs and the responsibility of Sri Lanka’s national drug regulator.

India has been the largest supplier of medical supplies to Sri Lanka, accounting for nearly half of the country’s pharmaceutical imports in 2022.

(Source: The Island – RK)