India will work with Sri Lanka to set up a mechanism to prevent spurious drug companies from operating in Sri Lanka.

Recently, Sri Lankan Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena ordered the suspension of tenders awarded to 10 Indian drug companies for supplying sub-standard drugs, not adhering to tender procedures, and delaying deliveries.

The Indian offer was made when its High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Ashok Kantha met the Health Minister on April 11.

Mr. Kantha suggested that careful delineation of technical standards and selection of companies was essential in the tendering process and proposed that a delegation from the Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India (PHARMEXCIL) visit Sri Lanka to meet the local Health authorities regarding the procedure adopted by the Sri Lankan government for sourcing pharmaceuticals from India. This would help in working out a mechanism to prevent substandard and low quality manufacturers from entering the market by exploiting loopholes in the procedures.

Suggestion hailed

The Minister welcomed this suggestion and it was agreed to organise an early visit by PHARMEXCIL to India, a release from the Indian High Commission said.

India has emerged as a leading global exporter of generic drugs and other pharmaceutical products.

Indian companies exported over $10 billion of drugs, pharmaceuticals and fine chemicals last year, with a large proportion of exports going to markets in advanced economies.

Assistance sought

Mr. Kantha informed the Minister that work on the construction of a 150-bed base hospital at Dickoya, Hatton under Indian grant assistance of LKR. 1180 million commenced in March 2011. He sought the Minister's assistance and cooperation for completing the work on schedule.

He told the Minister that India was additionally implementing a grant assistance project for the supply of medical equipment to the two General Hospitals in Killinochchi and Mullaitivu for which tenders for equipment procurement had already been floated.

The project of the Government of India supplying medical equipment to the Jaffna Teaching Hospital was completed in January 2011.

Radiotherapy machine

The issue regarding the creation of an appropriate facility for housing the Bhabhatron Radiotherapy Machine at Hambantota General Hospital for the treatment of cancer was also discussed.

The High Commissioner urged early completion of the facility since the machine was ready to be handed over.

India announced the gift of the machine at the IAEA General Conference held in September 2010.