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Sri Lankans To Be Used As Guinea Pigs To Test Cancer Drug

Sep 17, 2011 3:28:09 PM - thesundayleader.lk
  • Lanka to import uncertified drugs from Japan

By Indika Sri Aravinda

The Sunday Leader learnt that a major scam has come to light where the Ministry of Indigenous Medicine is attempting to import and distribute drugs manufactured in Japan which claim  to cure cancer, despite them not being certified by the Japanese government.
Informed sources told The Sunday Leader that Indigenous Medicine Minister Salinda Dissanayake has approved the move to import the drugs from the Japanese manufacturer, pass it under the Ayurveda seal and export it overseas as a local product.
A similar attempt was made in 2009 but it was rejected by the then Ayurveda Drugs Formulary Committee and the then Minister of Indigenous Medicine, Tissa Karaliyadda.
When contacted by The Sunday Leader Karaliyadda confirmed that he had rejected the move in 2009. He said he strongly objected, since the move included using Sri Lankans as guinea pigs to test the unauthorized drugs.
The two tablets, bearing numbers  NCK-E538A and NCK-E538B have been manufactured by a company in Japan called ‘Brast Sheave’ but have not been tested or certified by the Japanese government. Brast Sheave is located at Ibarakidaidoseimei Bldg. 6f. Ibaraki, Osaka 567-0032 – Japan.
The two drugs are to be registered under a Sri Lankan company called  ‘Kankio Herber Pvt. Ltd.,’  and then be given Ayurveda certification and exported.
Sources said that the Japanese company is attempting to use Sri Lanka to test the product and have it released to the market prematurely.
The Japanese government usually requires between 10-15 years to certify a drug, sources told The Sunday Leader.
Sources also revealed that a businessman with connections to Senior Minister A. H. M Fowzie was involved in securing the deal with the Ministry of Indigenous Medicine.
When The Sunday Leader spoke to Minister Fowzie he admitted that indeed Sri Lanka had imported the drugs which claim to cure cancer.  “We will test these two drugs on cancer patients in Sri Lanka plus export the drug to the World Market,” he said.
Fowzie added that the Minister for Indigenous Medicine Salinda Dissanayake had already approved the two tablets for Ayurveda certification.
Another former Minister of Indigenous Medicine under the UPFA government, Piyasena Gamage, said he too had objected to moves to certify the same drugs in Sri Lanka and distribute to the overseas market.  He said he realized there was a “scam” behind the move especially since the Japanese government had also not approved it.
When The Sunday Leader contacted the Secretary to the Ministry of Indigenous Medicine, P.D. Dahanayake, he said that approval has been given to import the drugs to carry out research. Indigenous Medicine Minister Salinda Dissanayake was in Japan and could not be contacted for  comment.