The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will install modern equipment valued at Rs. 2 billion to further expand the production capacity at the State Pharmaceutical Drugs Manufacturing Corporation (SPMC).
The Ministry of Health says the equipment will be installed within the next two months.
Sri Lanka and Japan signed a grant agreement in March this year and under the agreement Japan will provide approximately Rs. 6 billion to improve the health facilities in Sri Lanka and a portion of the loan will be used to strengthen the drug production capacity of the SPMC.
Under the grant modern machinery will be installed to locally manufacture drugs to alleviate the drug shortages in state hospitals.
The SPMC product range consists of 59 tablets, capsules and oral suspension and the facility produces 43 types of western drugs needed for local hospitals. It manufactures Sri Lanka's entire annual Paracetamol (acetaminophen) requirement of 572 million tablets.
Out of 59 items presently manufactured by the SPMC, 20 items supplied to the Medical Supplies Division (MSD) of the Health Ministry for the purpose of distribution to the Government Hospitals.
Meanwhile, Minister Maithreepala Sirisena said that the draft bill of the National Drug Policy that has been formulated by the Department of Legal Draftsman along with the Ministry of Health will be presented to parliament during this year. It has been in the making for the past three years.
Measures are also underway to set up an industrial park to produce western medicine in the Kurunegala district, the Ministry said.