Government of Sri Lanka on Saturday announced a 40 per cent price hike for dozens of commonly used medicines as the island nation labours through its worst economic crisis in decades. Hospitals have already cancelled routine surgeries after running out of anaesthetics, and today’s directive applies to 60 medicines in short supply. Antibiotics, non-prescription painkillers and medications for heart conditions and diabetes will all be subject to the price rise, health minister Channa Jayasumana said.

It is the second time in six weeks that pharmaceutical prices have been raised. In mid-March a 30 per cent increase was imposed. Industry officials said the latest hike was necessary to offset the impact of fuel prices, which have doubled since December. Official figures released yesterday showed Sri Lanka’s inflation rate at nearly 30 per cent in April, a seventh consecutive record high. Meanwhile, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had extended an invitation on Friday to form an all-party government to address the economic crisis in the island nation. The Opposition maintains they would never be part of any government under the two Rajapaksas. The street protests throughout the island nation, entered its 22nd day on Saturday.


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