Dispute snowballs in Royal Drugs

Kathmandu, May 4 :

With increased bickering between employees of Royal Drugs Ltd (RDL) and its general manager Rajani Shrestha, who was appointed about two months ago by the then government, RDL is sliding into a sea of trouble.

RDL, the only one state-owned drugs manufacturer in the country, has been struggling to survive thanks to the establishment of over 28 pharmaceutical private companies, producing various types of medicines. Employees have squarely blamed the current general manager for not a single letter of credit (L/C) having been opened for import of raw materials in the last two months. Satya Dev Pandey, an employee of RDL, talking to The Himalayan Times said despite there being a demand from the ministry of health to produce various kinds of drugs amounting to over Rs 30 million, Shrestha has not opened any L/Cs so far.

Even for emergency medicines such as saline and antibiotics, no L/C has been opened for the past two months. The ministry of finance has already written a letter to RDL to open LC amounting to Rs 13 million, but the GM has failed to act, said Pandey.

To complain about Shrestha, a 13 member staff delegation, including the deputy general of RDL Achheshwore Datta Shrestha met Bharat Bahadur Thapa, secretary at the ministry of industry, commerce and supplies at the latter’s office today. GM Shrestha was absent at RDL today and her secretary did not provide her telephone number to The Himalayan Times.

RDL has a capacity to produce medicines worth Rs 500 million yearly. But it has been producing medicines worth only Rs 140 million annually.

The ministry of industry, commerce and supplies (MOICS) had already decided to privatise RDL five months ago but the ministry of finance has not acted upon it, according to ministry officials. RDL has been generating losses in millions for years. During the last fiscal year alone, RDL incurred a loss of about Rs 60 million, said MOICS officials.