He said last year, the prices of 73 drugs was reduced and intends to increase that to 100 this year.
The Minister further said, “The biggest challenge we face is to protect the people from non-communicable diseases. Of the deaths reported in the country, 75% of these deaths are due to non-communicable diseases. People die of non-communicable diseases knowingly and they get these illnesses by spending money. Therefore, proper food consumption is vital. If not, they will have to spend much more to cure these diseases.”
Mahinda’s sweetened drinks tax
“During the past several years we took measures to reduce the use of tobacco and took appropriate decisions. We introduced the colour coding for drinks and turned the industry on its head. The human body only requires 04 spoons of sugar per day, but due to these sweetened drinks we consume much more. We also introduced the sugarless drinks and saved many lives by it.
However, during the 53-day government the illegitimate Prime Minister reduced the soft drink taxes and we know why. The illegal Prime Minister had inquired from the soft drink manufacturers how much they had to pay the government per year as taxes and they had told him it was around Rs. 4 billion. Then he had wanted them to give him the 4 billion to buy ministers and in return he had said he would reduce the taxes. I could also earn billions by conniving with so many companies, but I did not do so and we have done everything with the approval of the World Health organization. I have asked the Ministry secretary to prepare the papers to re-enforce the taxes,” he added.
Regulating the Private Hospitals
“I will implement the regulating of private hospitals within this year. I recently learnt that Rs. 350,000 had been charged per stent from a heart patient at a private hospital. I have reduced the price of stents to Rs. 150,000. These hospitals fleece the patients adding on numerous charges. This year, I will implement regulations for private hospital charges so that middle income persons will be able to afford treatment. I am ready for this challenge and I need your support for this in 2019. I urge the officers of this department not to cling on to files and ensure that their duties are performed efficiently,” Minister Senaratne noted.
Deputy health Minister Faizal Kasim, Ministry Secretary Wasantha Perera, Health Services Director General Consultant Dr. Anil Jasinghe, additional secretaries and staff members were all present.