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Company producing substandard aspirin failed WHO quality test

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Prof. Jayasumana

“It tried to influence me when I was State Minister for Health,” says Prof. Jayasumana

By Rathindra Kuruwita

Dissident SLPP MP Prof Channa Jayasumana says the company responsible for producing substandard aspirin tablets locally failed a quality test conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) a few years ago.

Recently, the Ministry of Health withdrew a batch of aspirin by the company from use in state hospitals.

“It is obvious that we have had an influx of substandard drugs. Out of these, almost everything has been bought under emergency purchases,” he said. Calling for an audit, he said a number of renowned professionals and academics at the National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) had resigned the previous year. “Why did they leave? When I was the State Minister for Health, there was a request for approving drugs manufactured at a factory in the Northwestern Province. Those drugs had been rejected by the WHO team. I said the factory had to regain WHO approval if its request was to be considered. There were many attempts to influence me, and later I found that the factory had been permitted to manufacture drugs,” he said.

“It is this company that produced the low-quality aspirin that has been withdrawn from use.”

Prof. Jayasumana said aspirin was commonly used by patients with cardiovascular diseases. There must be an immediate investigation, and the Health Minister must take responsibility,” he said.

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