Editor in Chief Dr KK Aggarwal, Padma Shri Awardee

Dated: 11th July, 2019

WHO includes five cancer therapies in essential medicines list

The World Health organization (WHO) has published an updated essential medicines list, which now includes cancer treatments and antibiotics.

The updated Essential Medicines List adds 28 medicines for adults and 23 for children and specifies new uses for 26 already-listed products, bringing the total to 460 products deemed essential for addressing key public health needs.

The five cancer therapies added to the list are regarded as “the best in terms of survival rates” to treat melanoma, lung, blood and prostate cancers. They include two recently developed immunotherapies – nivolumab and pembrolizumab – that have delivered up to 50% survival rates for advanced melanoma that, until recently, was incurable.

The Essential Medicines Committee strengthened advice on antibiotic use by updating the AWARE categories, which indicate which antibiotics to use for the most common and serious infections to achieve better treatment outcomes and reduce the risk of antimicrobial resistance. The committee recommended that three new antibiotics for the treatment of multi-drug resistant infections be added as essential.

Other updates to the medicines list include:

  • New oral anticoagulants to prevent stroke as an alternative to warfarin for atrial fibrillation and treatment of deep vein thrombosis. These are particularly advantageous for low-income countries as, unlike warfarin, they do not require regular monitoring.

  • Biologics and their respective biosimilars for chronic inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel diseases.

  • Heat-stable carbetocin for the prevention of postpartum hemorrhage. This new formulation has similar effects to oxytocin, the current standard therapy, but offers advantages for tropical countries as it does not require refrigeration.

(Source: WHO, UN)

Budget Highlights: Income-tax (Part 3)

15. Constituent entity of an International group shall now be required to keep and maintain information and document under Section 92D and file required form even when there is no international transaction is undertaken by such constituent entity.

16. There are various provisions in the Act which requires a person to make payment by account payee cheque/draft or ECS. In order to encourage other electronic modes of payment, the Government has proposed to amend relevant provisions to include other electronic modes of payment.

17. Tax shall be deductible under Section 194DA at the rate of 5% only on the income component of life insurance pay-out. The existing rate of TDS was 1% on the gross amount.

18. Relief under Section 89 shall be considered while computing the tax liability under Section 140A, section 143, section 234A, section 234B, and section 234C to avoid genuine hardships to the taxpayers who are claiming such relief.

19. Every person, carrying on business, shall, provide facility for accepting payment through electronic modes if his turnover or gross receipts exceeds Rs. 50 crores. The Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007 is proposed to be amended to provide that no bank or system provider shall impose any charge upon anyone, either directly or indirectly, for using the electronic modes of payment.

20. A taxpayer has been allowed to withdraw 60% of total amount from NPS as tax free. Currently, the exemption is allowed only up to 40% of the total corpus amount......to be continued

Inter-Ministerial Committee to examine a Central legislation against assault on Doctors

Issue also being raised in the Lok Sabha by 10 MPs

Earlier this month, on 5th July, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare constituted an inter-ministerial committee to examine the pros and cons of bringing out a Central Legislation against assault on doctors on duty and clinical establishments.....read more

Chaotic household, a risk factor for poor asthma control in children

A chaotic household, which lacks organization and routine, is noisy and where relaxation is difficult, is a risk factor for worse asthma outcomes in urban minority children, suggests results from the Asthma Action at Erie Trial published in the July 2019 issue of the journal Pediatrics. Along with this, depression in the child and the parent was also identified as a risk factor.

Researchers analyzed the association between parent, child and family functioning and child asthma control in urban minority youth with uncontrolled asthma. Family chaos was evaluated using a 15-item questionnaire that asked respondents to rate statements such as "No matter how hard we try, we always seem to be running late;" "We can usually find things when we need them;" "We always seem to be rushed;" and "Our home is a good place to relax." The relationship between parent depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and child depression and PTSD symptoms was also examined.....read more

Why do we not offer Vanaspati Ghee at the time of cremation or worship?

Vanaspati Ghee is never offered to God at the time of Aarti in the Diya or to the dead body at the time of cremation. Only pure ghee is offered.

It is considered a bad omen to offer Vanaspati ghee at the time of the last cremation ritual even though the consciousness has left the body.....read more

Healthcare News Monitor

Budget 2019-20 Reactions

Express Healthcare

Dr KK Aggarwal, President, Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI): We had great expectations from the Union Budget 2019 in respect to an increase in healthcare expenditure. However, issues such as increasing disease burden of the country, need to boost preventive healthcare and improving access to affordable and quality care were completely missed out by the new government which is extremely discouraging. While Ayushman Bharat was listed as a key focus area, clarity is needed on how it would be strengthened to reach a larger population. Health is wealth is a popular saying and we must understand its significance. Without a strong healthcare focus, the economy of the country and standard of living of people can’t be elevated in the true sense. It is heartening to see the increased focus on Swachh Bharat, water, hygiene, and sanitation. These will go a long way in reducing preventable water and food-borne diseases in the country. As the President of an healthcare NGO, I welcome the government’s move to set up an electronic fundraising programme for social enterprises and voluntary organisations. This will go a long way in helping us build capital and extend life-saving programmes to a larger section of the population.

1/3 of food samples tested in 2018-19 found adulterated

ET Healthworld- Dipak K Dash

New Delhi: Almost one third of the food samples tested in 2018-19 were found adulterated or substandard with Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu leading the list where nearly half of the samples failed the test, according to government data. The share of failed samples during the two previous years was nearly 25%. In a written reply, Union food and Consumer affairs minister Ram Vilas Paswan told Lok Sabha on Tuesday that between 2016-17 and 2018-19, about 8,100 people were convicted for committing such offences and food safety authorities across the states had collected nearly Rs 43.65 crore fine from the offenders. He quoted the data supplied by the state governments. The tests are carried out on the parameters set by the food safety regulator, FSSAI. According to ministry’s data, over 20,000 out of the total 65,000 samples failed the test in 2018-19. During 2017-18, over 24,000 samples out of 99,000 did not conform to the norms and during 2016-17, the number of failed samples was more than 18,000 out of the total 78,000 that were tested.

AIIMS Delhi launches initiative to make elderly, children interact with one another in government-run schools

The New Indian Express- Somrita Ghosh

In an attempt to bridge the gap between two generations — children and the elderly, a doctor from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has launched a unique initiative enabling children to learn life’s lessons from elders. Healthy Aging India, an NGO initiated by Dr Prasun Chatterjee, Assistant Professor Geriatrics, AIIMS, has launched an Inter-Generational Learning Centre (IGLC) where the senior citizens are made to engage with children of classes six, seven and eight from schools run by the government and civic bodies. “The prevailing education system does not have much scope to inculcate education intelligence in children. It doesn’t lend itself to understanding emotion, regulating emotion, self-regulation and empathy.

We are not Gods’: Government Doctors in Bengaluru Demand Safety

The Quint

A young doctor, in his or her early 20s, screening scores of patients every day, suturing and stitching up wounds for 18-20 hours at a go and surviving on less than 4 hours of sleep. Only to be beaten up by an unhappy patient’s relatives. Once revered as a noble profession, doctors today are subject to abuse, slapped and downright disrespected at their place of work, even in urban Bengaluru. The Quint spoke to several junior doctors and interns to understand their woes and what can be done to make govt hospitals safer. A number of junior doctors that The Quint spoke to were rattled by the attack on the government hospital doctor in Kolkata recently, which brought to light the pervasiveness of the problem. “After the incident, its kind of in the back of our heads that this happened. That this could happen to you. The doctor who got hit is also a house surgeon like me, the only difference is I’m working here and he was working there, so it could happen to me as well,” said Dr Ajay Ramesh, a house surgeon at Victoria Hospital.

CSIR offers research avenues for pharmacy graduates to develop technological capability in emerging field of science

Pharmabiz- Shardul Nautiyal

In order to develop scientific and technological capability in the country, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), New Delhi is offering direct Senior Research Fellowships (SRFs) and Research Associateships (RAs) for training in methods of research under the expert guidance of faculty members and scientists working in universities, laboratories and institutes of government departments. Preference will be given to the research topics relevant to R&D programmes of CSIR laboratories in the new and emerging fields of science. Eligible candidates should hold M Pharm or MVSc or equivalent degree with at least 55% marks besides having one publication in scientific journal to his/her credit and one year research experience as on the last date of application. Candidates can apply online on or before July 26, 2019 at http://www.csirhrdg.res.in. Only online applications followed by hard copy will be accepted. These fellowships are held on a full time basis. Therefore simultaneous employment elsewhere is not permitted. However, those desirous of pursuing higher studies, but employed presently, whether temporary or permanent may apply with an undertaking that if selected, they will resign from the job before taking up the fellowship. Application will be rejected if the undertaking is not enclosed. A stipend of Rs. 35,000 per month will be offered during entire tenure of fellowship. In addition, each SRF will receive a contingent grant of a maximum Rs. 20,000 per annum. The grant will be provided to the university/institution with which the SRF will be affiliated. SRF will be tenable initially for a period of two years. The term is extendable by one year on the basis of assessment of the progress already made as judged by three member assessment committee.

Intas launchs Romiplostim in India

United News India

Pharma Major, Intas Pharmaceuticals takes a revolutionary step towards making therapy for chronic immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) more accessible to patients by being the first to launch Romiplostim in India under the name Romy. Romiplostim is one of the most efficacious agents with proven long-term benefits in chronic ITP, a release here said. It represents the standard of care but has been available only internationally since 2008. It is estimated that around 42,000 patients are diagnosed with ITP in India every year. Less than 10 pc of patients which include adults as well as children, have access to the treatment which is required to maintain adequate platelet counts.

Lucknow: 8 government medical hubs get notice for breeding mosquito larvae

The Times of India

LUCKNOW: After the first case of dengue this monsoon was reported from Faizullaganj on Saturday, eight government medical establishments were on Sunday found to have conditions conducive to the breeding of the disease-causing vector. The health department, following the surprise inspection, issued notices asking these facilities to sanitise all mosquito breeding grounds within 24 hours. The medical hubs under lens are Dr Ram Manohar Lohia combined hospital and Dr RML Institute of Medical Sciences, Veerangana Avanti Bai Women's Hospital, community health centres in Aliganj and Turiyaganj, Rajkiya Ayurvedic Hospital (also Turiyaganj) and two other healthcare set-ups in Aliganj. On Sunday, 13 government medical facilities were inspected by the vector-borne disease unit and eight were found to be guilty of breeding mosquito larvae. As many as 32 cases of dengue have been reported in Lucknow district since January 1. "The officials at all these notified government bodies were asked to be present and all of them have given us written assurances of cleaning up the mess. All these places had mosquitoes and their larvae breeding in broken pots, defunct air coolers and other items discarded as trash, but not disposed of," said in-charge of vector-borne disease unit, Lucknow district, Dr KP Tripathi. The health team said it would also do a recheck of the same medical facilities after seven to 10 days on a random basis while other government offices and hospitals would now be inspected to identify mosquito breeding sites on a daily basis.