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Essential patient information in drug labels, packages and devices

HIFA Quotation: 

Labeling of drugs and devices in Sri Lanka are done mainly in English. Lobbying by academics to change this situation has had limited success. On Sept. 21, 2012, the Ministry of Health ordered that all pharmaceutical manufacturers and importers to label in Sinhala and Tamil (native languages for most Sri Lankans) in addition to English. Recently (in 2017) a petitioner complained to the Supreme Court that despite an undertaking given to the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, the National Medicines Regulatory Authority and the Minister of Health, had failed to label medicines, medical devices, manufactured or imported to Sri Lanka, in Sinhala and Tamil. On 4th of April 2017 the Supreme Courts directed the government to form a committee that would propose the content and format of information that should be included (in Sinhala. Tamil and English) for patients (in labels, products and devices)

Date of HIFA message: 
Saturday, April 8, 2017
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Author Name: 
Saroj Jayasinghe
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Saroj Jayasinghe is the Professor of Medicine of the University of Colombo and a consultant physician in the National Hospital of Sri Lanka, Colombo. Professor Saroj Jayasinghe qualified from Faculty of Medicine with MBBS honours from the University of Colombo. He works as a specialist at the National Hospital of Sri Lanka. Recently he was appointed as the head of the Department of Medical Humanities of the University of Colombo, the first such department in the region. 

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