The owner of Isolez Biotech Pharma AG (Pvt) Ltd is now under arrest. This company which sold fake vials of human immunoglobulin to the Sri Lankan Health Ministry is now under the spotlight with more information emerging but surprisingly no action has been taken against officials of the Health Ministry or the National Medicines Regulatory Authority.
The company did not import the medication or the raw materials required to manufacture it through official channels.
The company’s owner, Hewage Sudath Janaka Fernando, who is in remand custody, is providing valuable information under police interrogation. He submitted its first quotation for 7,500 packs of human immunoglobulin to the Health Ministry’s Medical Supplies Division (MSD) as early as October 2022, more than 12 months ago. The cost was stated as US$ 975,000, or Rs 316 million. However, he imported neither the medication nor the raw materials required to manufacture human blood plasma.
No action has been taken against officials of the Health Ministry or the National Medicines Regulatory Authority who knowingly or unknowingly sanctioned part payment.
Insiders say that even fake drugs of such a complex nature can’t be manufactured without the help of professionals in pharmaceuticals.
The vials started being distributed to hospitals in July, and the company always said that “raw materials” for human immunoglobulin, which is blood plasma, were imported.
Trade unionists in the health sector point out that the current investigations may net the small fish but let the big ones slip.