Health Minister accuses drug companies of giving big bribes to doctors

Rajitha Senaratne

Minister of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Dr. Rajitha Senaratne told Parliament yesterday that drug companies paid doctors for prescribing their drugs.

“There was a drug sold for $ 30 and after I intervened they reduced it to $ 3. This clearly shows how high the markups are.”

The Health Minister said he had issued instructions to break that monopoly for the benefit of the public.

“When I want to break this monopoly these issues arise. When I decided to open the doors for other brands to be imported then the prices started decreasing. As regards one particular drug, the company reduced the price by Rs. 115,000 per phial.”

He said this in response to a question raised by SLFP General Secretary Dayasiri Jayasekara during the questions for Oral answers in Parliament yesterday on the measures taken to reduce the exorbitant drug prices.

“There are consultants appointed to the technical evaluation committee, and some say a drug is good some say otherwise. However, they cannot say if a drug is good or bad and only the pharmacologists know how good or bad a drug is. They are the ones who carry out the clinical trials and not the clinicians.”

(Source: The Island – By Saman Indrajith)