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Sri Lanka: Draft Bill to regularize medicinal drugs; AG moves for 2 month time from SC to finalize.

Colombo, Aug. 3 -- The draft Bill to regulate medicinal drugs and devices, cosmetics, pharmaceutical and functional foods is to be finalized within two months.

When the fundamental rights petitions were taken up before the Supreme Court on Tuesday (2), Senior State Counsel Viveka Sisriwardane de Silva appeared for the Respondents moved for two month time to finalize the draft Bill, subject to the consideration of the Committee.

The panel of judges consisting of Justices Shiranee Tilakawardane, K.Sripavan and Suresh Chandra, after having heard the submission, fixed the application for mention on October 13.

Petitioners in the matter are the People's Movement for the Rights of Patients, the President of the said Movement and its Joint Secretaries M.K.P. Chandralal and K.V.Kanthavel.

Also Lohan Clifford Bibile who is one of the grand nephews of late Prof. Senaka Bibile is another petitioner. Late Prof. Senaka Bibile was a pioneer in the movement to introduce a Medical Drugs Policy in the country.

Minister of Health Care, Nutrition and Health Nimal Sripala De Silva, Ministry Secretary Dr Athula Kahanda Liyanage, Director General of Health Services Dr U.A.Mendis, Cosmetic Devices and Drugs Technical Advisory Committee and the Attorney General cited as Respondents.

In October 2005, the Health Minister was placed on record issuing a public undertaking to present Health Policy by what was referred to as the draft to the said Bill, the Petitioners stated.

However, since July 26, 2008 notwithstanding several agitations, reminders and collective lobbying by interested parties, there has been a strange and unexplained silence from the Health Minster to follow through with his assurances and complete the process by presenting the Bill to Parliament, they impugned.

This may be the result of illegal and concerted efforts of several highly influential medicinal and pharmaceutical companies who may be adversely affected by the introduction of such regulatory regime, they blamed.

The continuous agitations to this date have fallen on deaf ears and there has not been any favourable response from the Respondents to either implement National Medicinal Drug Policy and/or present the draft Bill for enactment, they dismayed.

The petitioners are seeking an order from the Court to direct the Health Minister to present the Draft Bill titled "An Act to Regulate Medicinal Drugs and Devices, Cosmetics, Pharmaceutical and Functional Foods".

They are pleading for an another order from the Court to direct the Health Minster to present the draft Bill titled "An Act to Regulate Medicinal Drugs and Devices, Cosmetics, Pharmaceuticals and Functional Foods" to Parliament forthwith for the necessary legislative process to commence with a view to its enactment.

They are asking for a declaration from the Court that fundamental right to equality and equal protection of the law guaranteed to them and the citizenry continues to be and/or is in imminent danger of being infringed by the Respondents.

Chrishmal Warnasuriya with Revan Weerasinghe and Dushantha Kularatne instructed by Wijesinghe Associates appeared for the Petitioners.

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Publication:Asian Tribune (India)
Date:Aug 3, 2011
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