Many factors influence the regulation of pharmaceuticals in a country. The
essential drugs concept, formulated by the World Health Organization to assist developing countries in selecting
appropriate drugs, also provides a basis for regulation. Sri Lanka has long regulated
pharmaceuticals as part of its health policy. Over 70% of 3436 pharmaceutical product registrations were found to be
drugs (or alternatives) named in the country's essential drugs list. This is despite the fact that
product registrations are mainly for the private health care sector, and the list is for the state sector. The
essential drugs concept therefore appears to have influenced the pharmaceuticals registered in Sri Lanka.