Alleged medical supplies from unregistered companies: SC grants leave to proceed with petition | Sri Lanka News

The Supreme Court yesterday granted leave to proceed with a Fundamental Rights petition filed by Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) against the procurement of medical supplies from unregistered private suppliers under the Indian Credit Line. 

The petitioner had challenged the moves by the Ministry of Health to procure medical supplies from unregistered private suppliers through direct contracting and unsolicited bids.

While noting that serious doubts have arisen regarding the lawfulness of the impugned procurement transaction, Supreme Court granted following two interim reliefs; Suspension of further importation of pharmaceuticals pertaining to the decision without obtaining a further order from the Court after proving that the quality and safety requirements are satisfied, and the procurement is lawful.

Release for use the two consignments that have already reached Sri Lanka only after the conducting necessary tests, and the National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) expressing its independent decision assuring the safety, quality, and efficacy of the already imported pharmaceuticals.

The TISL and its Executive Director Ashala Nadishani Perera filed this petition seeking an order preventing the Cabinet of Ministers and other officials from making any payments to Savorite Pharmaceuticals (Pvt) Limited and Kausikh Therapeutics Limited in respect the purported procurement of any medicinal supplies.

The petitioners stated that the Minister of Health Keheliya Rambukwella has sought the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers to utilize the Indian Credit Line and other unspecified means of funding to maintain an uninterrupted supply of medicine, with the purported view to prevent acute shortages in medical supplies in government health institutions in Sri Lanka.

The petitioners further said that Minister of Health has on two occasions proposed the names of Savorite Pharmaceuticals (Pvt) Limited and Kausikh Therapeutics LTD as identified supplier from whom the procurement and importation of medical supplies would be made to Sri Lanka, in respect of certain medicines. The names of the said Private Entities have been proposed to the Cabinet of Ministers by the Minister of Health for the relevant procurements, despite the said Private Entities not having the requisite registrations by the NMRA, and in the complete absence of a competitive procurement process.

Supreme Court three-judge-bench comprised Justices Murdu Fernando, Yasantha Kodagoda and Achala Wengappuli. Counsel Senany Dayaratne with Nishadi Wickramasinghe, Sankhitha Gunaratne and Lasanthika Hettiarachchi instructed by Attorney-at-law Thushari Jayawardena appeared for the petitioners. Deputy Solicitor General Nirmalan Wigneswaran appeared for the Attorney General.(Lakmal Sooriyagoda)

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