ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Pharmaceutical Pricing Policy: A Critique

The recently announced draft National Pharmaceutical Pricing Policy 2011 fails to ensure accessible and affordable medicines for all in India. This is due to the limited scope and market-based approach it offers to price control. Among other measures, policy should fix ceiling prices based on lowest priced alternatives instead of high-priced top sellers, aim to revive pharmaceutical public sector undertakings, and expand the current National List of Essential Medicines. Most importantly, pharmaceuticals must be brought under the remit of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to allow better coordination for public health interests.

On a CPI (Maoist) Apology

In a statement of apparent self-criticism dated 1 September 2011 (EPW, 17 September 2011), the Communist Party of India (Maoist) has offered an apo logy for the posters threatening Aruna Roy, Jean Dreze, Gokul Vasant and Nandlal Singh and members of Gram Swaraj Abhiyan. But they have not tendered...

A Rational Taxation System of Bidis and Cigarettes to Reduce Smoking Deaths in India

Tobacco smoking of bidis and cigarettes causes about one million deaths a year in India. India's relatively high consumption is due in part to a historically low or no tax on bidis and an inefficient, complex system of taxing cigarettes. In the context of planned tax reforms in India, we provide specific recommendations to raise tobacco taxes and to adopt a simpler and more efficient tax administration that would curb smoking. We estimate that raising the tax as a percentage of retail price from 7% to 33% for bidis and from 43% to 58% for cigarettes would conservatively lead to about 14 million smokers quitting and 27 million children never starting, thereby saving some 69 million years of healthy life over the next 40 years. The increase would also raise about Rs 73 billion or an additional 1.2% of current government revenue, while incurring no or minimal economic harm. Modest action on tobacco taxes in India might well save millions of lives.

Food Entitlements

We are a group of research scholars and student volunteers who have just spent three weeks surveying the public distribution system (PDS) around the country. We are writing to share a few thoughts on the National Food Security Act in the light of this experience. Our survey covered more than 100...

Universal Access to Healthcare: Threats and Opportunities

A close examination of the ongoing debates on universal access to healthcare, both in national and international fora, reveals a plurality of ideological perspectives and motivations on how universal access can be achieved. This statement, issued at the end of a recent meeting of "participant observers", brings their insights and concerns about universal access to healthcare.

Persecution of Contract Workers in Chhattisgarh

LETTERS Issn 0012-9976 Ever since the first issue in 1966, EPW has been India’s premier journal for comment on current affairs and research in the social sciences. It succeeded Economic Weekly (1949-1965), which was launched and shepherded by Sachin Chaudhuri, who was also the founder-editor of EPW...

Police Intimidation

We, the members of the Executive Committee of the Indian Association for Women’s Studies (IAWS), write to you in shock in the face of our recent experiences of intimidation and harassment at the hands of the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) during the XIIIth National Conference of the IAWS in Wardha at...

Takeover of Indian Pharma Companies

India is, today, the fourth largest producer of drugs in the world and a world class supplier of relatively cheap generic medicines. It is the largest supplier in the world of low-priced anti-retrovirals and exports medicines to over 200 countries. However, major concerns regarding access to...

On the UIDAI

A project that proposes to give every resident a “unique identity number” is a matter of great concern for those working on issues of food security, NREGA, migration, technology, decentralisation, constitutionalism, civil liberties and human rights. The process of setting up the Unique Identifi...

University of Hyderabad

We, the teachers at the University of Hyderabad, strongly oppose all moves by the university administration to alienate and gift away more than 1,000 acres out of the 2,324 acres of land that were granted to the university by the Andhra Pradesh government in 1974. First the university...

Ayodhya and Archaeology: An Open Letter

The Ayodhya judgment of the Allahabad High Court has relied on a report – submitted to it in 2003 – by the Archaeological Survey of India after its excavations on the site, as ordered by the court. As citizens of India, or persons of Indian origin, or friends of India, we demand that this report...

Faking an Ecounter: Killing the Peace Process

The Coordination of Democratic Rights Organisation (CDRO) group put together a team of concerned citizens which visited Wankadi mandal, Adilabad district on 20 and 21 August 2010 where the alleged encounter of Azad, also known as Cherukuri Rajkumar, who was the spokes person of the CPI (Maoist) and...

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