(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –Minister of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Dr. Rajitha Senaratne says measures will be taken in near future to reduce charges for 46 various services at private hospitals.
Addressing a the Kalutara district conference of All Island Private Pharmacy Owners Association at Panorama Hotel in Kalutara today, the Minister said the prices for services offered at private hospitals will be regulated and requested the private hospitals to provide humanitarian services not only profitable services.
“Relatives of a patient receiving treatment in a private hospital spoke to me this morning. Although the patient is unconscious, the hospital bill has now become Rs. 2 million. I arranged to bring the patient to the Colombo National Hospital from the private hospital,” the minister said assuring that the government would take steps to reduce such charges.
Speaking further the Minister said when the prices of 48 essential drugs were reduced the Sri Lanka Chamber of Pharmaceutical Industry did not support his measure but the All Island Private Pharmacy Owners Association and small drug importers supported his decision and therefore, he also fulfilled the requests of the association.
Commending the stance taken by the All Island Private Pharmacy Owners Association to standby his decision to reduce the prices of drugs, the Minister criticized the local media for allegedly supporting big pharmaceutical companies instead of the people.
“Media in our country is not for the benefit of the people. They appear for big pharmaceutical companies and are fulfilling their expectations. A weekend newspaper criticized my appointment as the Vice President of the World Health organization (WHO). The WHO gave me the post for my work to initiate the program to provide Universal health Care,” he said.
“We are a small island. This post was a victory. However, some journalists who don’t know about the significance criticize it,” he added.
The Minister noted that the Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) are a challenge for the world. Annually, some 4 million people around the world die from NCDs. Therefore, various measures have been taken to protect people from non-communicable diseases.
The government has also taken the steps to remove the upper limit of Rs. 1.5 million per patient for cancer treatment and now some patients even receive treatment up to Rs. 45 million.
“However, the media does not report these developments, they do not fulfill their responsibility,” the Minister continued emphasizing that only politicians cannot develop the country and media’s assistance essential.