The Sri Lanka Chamber of Medical Devices Industry (SLCMDI) held their 5th Annual General Meeting recently amid a gathering of its members and industry stakeholders. The event was held under the patronage ofHon. Minister of Health Mrs. PavithraWanniarachchi as chief guest and Prof. Harendra De Silva, Chairman of the Sri Lanka Medical Council and the Emeritus Professor of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Colombo,as the guest of honour. A large number of dignitaries and luminaries of the industry were present at the event, ushering new hopes for the perseverance of this perennial industry.
Established in 2015, the SLCMDI was formed with the intention of representing the fast-growing innovative industry of medical devices and equipment, and addressing industry issues. The Chamber seeks to promote medical devices of the highest quality, cooperate with all stakeholders connected with the healthcare industry, enhance and foster relationships among members, set ethical guidelines for the promotion and sales of medical devices, encourage local production of devices, and act as a mediator between the industry and government officials in the implementation of regulations regarding medical devices and cosmetics. With a growing number of medical device importers in the country, the SLCMDI membership is constantly on the rise as they progress in their quest to create lasting solutions for the medical devices industry in a regulated, equal opportunity and ethical environment in line with the Chamber’s vision and mission.
The highlight of the5th AGM was the reappointment of the council for 2020 due to their stellar performance and contribution to the Chamber during the previous year. The board comprises President Erandajith Ranasinghe, Immediate Past President Saman Hulangamuwa, Vice President Tilak Fernando, Vice President Niranjan Selvadurai, Secretary S. Prabhu, Asst. Secretary SanjeevaSamarasinghe and Treasurer Pradeep Amarawardena.
While thanking the council members of the SLCMDI for their contribution towards the industry, President Erandajith Ranasinghe commented, “Last year was a dynamic year for the Chamber. We were successful in finalizing the medical devices classification system, which simplifies medical devices registration to a great extent. The introduction of the e-NMRA, once it is fully functional, will further streamline the registration process. However, the implementation of dedicated SPC tender guidelines for medical devices has been far more limited despite numerous discussions with the Ministry of Health and the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation.Nonetheless, the effective implementation of medical devices regulations will remain a focus in 2020.”
The SLCMDI President also shared the Chamber’s focus for 2020, including ensuring a transparent system for SPC payments in order to reduce delays, implementingmedical devices regulations together with the NMRA and a VAT waiver for registered medical devices.
Sharing his thoughts at the event, Prof. Harendra De Silva highlighted the importance of good governance in any industry. He added “Basically, everyone has to be transparent in their actions and be accountable to any lapses, with the rule of law effective at every level. Similarly, it is then the responsibility of the government to educateand providethe provisions for the industry, in addition to monitoring and enforcing the law of the land.”
Regarding the industry, Chairman of the NMRA Prof. Asita De Silva in his message for the AGM stated, “Although medical devices provide an opportunity for better quality of life and increased life expectancy, a majority of the world’s population is denied adequate, safe and reliable access to proper medical devices due to the high cost. Over the last 1-2 years, the NMRA has regulated the prices of widely used and life-saving medical devices including cardiac stents, intraocular lenses used for cataract surgery and home blood glucose monitoring systems. We believe this has brought much relief to patients, and will contribute to an improved quality of life.”
He further noted, “The primary customer for the pharmaceutical and devices industries is the patient. The industry will have to realign itself to this reality to ensure sustainability and growth. As the national regulator, the NMRA looks forward to working with the Sri Lanka Chamber of Medical Devices Industry to provide our patients better access to quality-assured medical devices.”
As the Chamber heads into 2020, a strong sense of optimism will be carried forward amid industry challenges. Believing that the future holds a bright potential, the SLCMDI will continue to strive to uphold its commitment to deliver the best healthcare services to all Sri Lankans.