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

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Undeniable Violations and Unidentifiable Violators

The Human Papillomavirus vaccine "demonstration projects" conducted by a United States non-governmental organisation in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research were suspended by the central government in 2010, following the deaths of seven tribal girls and pressure from civil society groups. An enquiry committee constituted to look into the "alleged irregularities" in the conduct of these projects has given its final report. Despite evidence of clear violations, however, the committee has absolved all involved in the project of responsibility.

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...

Violence against Christians

We strongly condemn the inhuman violence inflicted by fundamentalist Hindu organisations against members of the Christian community, largely dalit and tribal, in Orissa and the violation of their places of worship since August 2008. While the killing of Swami Laxmanananda and his associates should...

Battling Patent Laws: The Glivec Case

Novartis has lost its case challenging the constitutional validity of Section 3(d) of the Indian Patents Act 1970, but the celebratory air needs to be tempered. The issue of what constitutes enhanced efficacy of a drug is not in general settled. But, more importantly, from the perspective of making the right to heathcare a reality, there is a strong case for certain therapeutic classes of drugs important for public health being taken outside the purview of legal disputation.

Medicines: Why Is Paswan's Price Reduction a Let-down?

In the first week of November 2006, union minister of chemicals and fertilisers, Ram Vilas Paswan came out with a list of 886 drugs whose prices were reduced, presumably at his behest. What does this reduction indicate? Actually, for no disease and for no company have the top selling brands seen any reduction in the price. The reduction by a few companies of a few medicines, none of which are the brands most sold by these companies, or are the most prescribed, will not improve access to affordable drugs for the consumers.

Making Medicines Available at Reasonable Prices

The report of the task force on making life-saving drugs available at reasonable prices is sufficiently sanguine to the realities of the country, making it possibly the first official report which recognises competition does not work in the pharma formulations sector and that patients do not really have a choice in the matter like in other consumer segments. It asserts that price regulation should be on the basis of essentiality of the drug and strategic considerations about the impact of price control on the therapeutic class, rather than on market share and turnover. This is significant myth-breaking by official hammers.

Drug Price Control

While the finance minister has announced a cut in the number of drugs under the Drug Price Control Order, such a dilution has not been recommended by the report of the government appointed committee on drug pricing.

Pharmaceuticals, WTO and Seattle Round

If the WTO philosophy is not to end up opening third world markets for big business at the cost of their hard earned technological capabilities, India needs to take a studied stand on several issues. Important among them is the need to ensure the inclusion of devices such as the Bolar provision and oppose the granting of exclusive marketing rights.

How Many Aspirins to the Rupee?

Government intervention has kept Indian drug prices from spiralling. Different sectors of the pharmaceutical industry have reacted differently to the policies. There is confusion about what are reasonable prices and profits.

BANGLADESH-Nehruvian Temple Worship

skills by adopting very ingenious ways of making ice-packs. Raw ice melts fast but ice- packs retain their temperature much longer. Hence, ice-packs are used in all routine immunisation. One has to be careful in the selection of vaccine carriers. It is unfortunate that India still does not manufacture all the cold chain equipment required for the country's immunisation programme although we boast of manufacturing sophisticated aircraft.

Singing About the Dark Times-Bangladesh Drug Policy

'Singing About the Dark Times' Bangladesh Drug Policy S Srinivasan The Politics of Essential Drugs The Makings of a Successful Health Strategy: Lessons from Bangladesh by Zafrullah Chowdhury; Vistaar Publications, New Delhi, 1996; pp 192, Rs 195 (HB). First published in 1995 by Zed Books, London and Dag Hammarskjold Foundation, Uppsala.

Disillusionment of the Displaced

Just about a year ago oustees of the Sardar Sarovar Project were forcibly evicted and transported to new sites. Today, disgusted with the tack of facilities, they have begun to return to their original villages or places close by. The trickle of returnees may well turn into a flood.

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