Editor in Chief Dr KK Aggarwal, Padma Shri Awardee

Dated: 24th June, 2019

Healthcare workers often work while sick

Most healthcare workers (HCWs) with an acute respiratory illness (ARI) have worked during most episodes of ARI, putting their patients and coworkers at risk for infection, finds a recent study published online June 18 in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology.

HCWs from 9 Canadian hospitals were prospectively enrolled in active surveillance for ARI during the 2010–2011 to 2013–2014 influenza seasons. Daily illness diaries during ARI episodes collected information on symptoms and work attendance.

  • At least 1 ARI episode was reported by 50.4% of participants each study season.

  • Overall, 94.6% of ill individuals reported working at least 1 day while symptomatic, resulting in an estimated 1.9 days of working while symptomatic and 0.5 days of absence during an ARI per participant season.

  • In multivariable analysis, the adjusted relative risk of working while symptomatic was higher for physicians and lower for nurses relative to other HCWs.

  • Participants were more likely to work if symptoms were less severe and on the illness onset date compared to subsequent days.

  • The most cited reason for working while symptomatic was that symptoms were mild and the HCW felt well enough to work (67%).

  • Participants were more likely to state that they could not afford to stay home if they did not have paid sick leave and were younger.

Need for tobacco harm reduction

The need for tobacco harm reduction is apparent from global data on smoking. The statistics relating to smoking-related mortality and morbidity across the world are grim

  • Smoking tobacco results in the world’s deadliest preventable diseases, prematurely ending the lives of half of all smokers.

  • Smoking cigarettes is a major cause of lung and oral cancer, progressive respiratory diseases such as emphysema, and heart disease.

  • One person dies from a smoking-related disease every six seconds.........read more

After diclofenac, now Aceclofenac may be banned for veterinary use

As per the minutes of the 56th Meeting of Drugs Consultative Committee held on 1st June, 2019 at New Delhi, agenda 16 (3) the health ministry may ban Aceclofenac for veterinary use.

“ 3. Prohibition of Aceclofenac for veterinary use for saving vultures DCC

Dr. Vibhu Parkash, Principal Scientist & Deputy Director, BNHS, Vulture Conservation Breeding Centre, B-3, Forest Complex, Pinjore, Panchkula, Haryana has submitted a research note on ‘Metabolism of Aceclofenac in cattle to Vulture-killing Diclofenac’.......read more

Healthcare News Monitor

Price of 1032 medicines capped by govt: Mansukhlal Mandavia

ET Healthworld- PTI

The price of 1032 essential medicines have been capped by the government to help provide poor medicines at cheaper rates, the Rajya Sabha was informed Friday. Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers Mansukhlal Mandavia said the government is attempting to provide 700 medicines in Jan Aushadhi Stores and a total of 20 truck loads of medicines are being supplied to such stores per day for providing medicines at cheaper rates to the poor. He said Jan Aushadhi stores are opened with an aim of providing quality and affordable medicines to the poor. Mandavia, while replying to questions, said the government has fixed trade margins of 42 medicines relating to cancer and other diseases, which has helped bring down their price by 90 per cent. "A total of 526 formulations are now available at 90 per cent less rates than the market, after the government has taken this initiative of fixing trade margins," the minister said.

Mosquito nets to be coated with insecticides in two villages each in 18 sensitive UP districts

ET Healthworld- Priyangi Agarwal

Bareilly: Striving to control vector-borne diseases in 18 sensitive districts of Uttar Pradesh, chief medical officers in these districts will select two most sensitive villages for converting normal mosquito nets of villagers into insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs). Mosquitoes die after they sit on ITNs. Health department workers will collect normal mosquito nets from villagers and treat it with medicine/chemicals to convert it into ITNs. According to officials, 18 districts where ITN conversions will be done are Bareilly, Badaun, Pilibhit, Shahjahanpur, Rampur, Aligarh, Farukkhabad, Etah, Saharanpur, Prayagraj, Sonbhadra, Mirzapur, Bhadohi, Sitapur, Hardoi, Kanpur Dehat, Auraiya and Gautambudh Nagar. Additional director, malaria and vector-borne diseases, had on Tuesday issued letters to the CMOs of these districts in this connection.

A drought of doctors: City hospitals in ICU

India Today-Priyanka Sharma

Even as the nation's eyes are on Bihar's encephalitis outbreak, with the situation worsened by a severe shortfall of doctors, the picture in the National Capital isn't a lot better. Almost all government-run hospitals in Delhi are staring at an acute shortage of physicians, Mail Today has found. "Out of the total sanctioned posts of 2,637 doctors, about 736 are vacant," said an official of the Delhi government's Health Department, who did not want to be named. This amounts to a shortfall of about 28-30% vacancies in Delhi government-run hospitals. These 1,901 doctors employed by the Delhi government are among the over 15,000 medical professionals working in the Capital's government healthcare sector. The recruitment of doctors in the Capital happens at two levels. Senior grade doctors, faculty-level doctors and medical officers are recruited through the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). But resident doctors, fresh from medical colleges, can be hired directly by hospitals once they have the nod of the Union Health Ministry. "Overall, there is a 30% shortage of doctors in the Capital's hospitals. Poor infrastructure, physical assaults by relatives of patients, lack of security and the huge workload of patients are the usual reasons why doctors don't want to work in a government set-up," said Dr Sumedh Sandanshiv, President, Federation of Resident Doctors' Association (FORDA), a registered body of doctors of Delhi Government hospitals.

India seeks "clear roadmap" from China to ramp up export of pharma products

Business Today- PTI

The intensive day long session covered detailed deliberations in six sessions such as regulatory overview of NMPA, registration of imported drugs in China, Indian regulatory system, drug procurement system in China, NMPA overseas inspections and compliance guide, API (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient) registration process in China. "China is world's second biggest pharma market and under their Healthy China 2030 policy, they are committed to provide quality drugs at affordable price to its citizens," the press release said. "India has emerged as pharmacy of the world by providing high quality generic drugs at very affordable price. Our global exports have reached USD 19 billion last year with India exporting to very high quality sensitive markets like US, Japan and the European Union," it said. However, our exports of pharma formulations to China is just USD 30 million which is insignificant as compared to the potential that exists. The Indian side is working intensively to tap this potential and build up on the complementarities in trade in pharmaceuticals," it said. Over 60 Indian and Chinese pharma companies attended the session with host of government delegates.

Now, drugs for 3 months at one time for ‘stable’ HIV+ patients to reduce frequent trips to ART centres

The Indian Express- Anuradha Mascarenhas

In a first, the Maharashtra State AIDS Control Society has begun a multi-month dispensation of medication for HIV positive persons who are ‘stable’ and ‘regularly taking treatment’. Currently, in Maharashtra 14,658 patients have been given anti-HIV drugs for three months under the new Multi-Month Dispensation of Drug initiative, introduced a few months ago. The World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines recommend early initiation of HIV positive patients on antiretroviral therapy (ART). Going a step further, the Maharashtra State AIDS Control Society has initiated steps to dispense drugs for three months at a time to HIV positive persons. Tukaram Mundhe, project director of Maharashtra State AIDS Control Society (MSACS), told The Indian Express that ‘stable’ patients are those who have fulfilled various criteria, like being on antiretroviral therapy for at least one year, have not had any major opportunistic infection, and have good adherence to treatment. So far, there are a total of 2.12 lakh people living with HIV who are in active care and availing medicine to treat the disease from across ART centres in the state. According to authorities at MSACS, of them a total of 2,00,761 patients with HIV are on first line regimen of drugs, while 11,253 patients require second line regimen of drugs.

Lupin, Piramal Healthcare in race for stake in JB Chemicals

The Economic Times- Shilpy Sinha & Divya Rajagopal

Mumbai-based Lupin Pharma and the healthcare arm of Piramal Enterprises are among potential acquirers in early stages of talks to buy into 75- year-old drug maker JB Chemicals, people familiar with the development told ET. One of the oldest active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) makers in India, JB Chemicals last month had appointed investment bank Avendus to find a buyer for the 55 per cent stake the Mody family owns in the company. JB Chemicals had told stock exchanges late last month that it was not aware of any stake sale negotiations, but people closely involved with the development said the investment banker has been asked to seek potential buyers. It ranks number 36 in the Indian pharma market, logging sales worth Rs 611 crore at 16 per cent growth, according to pharma consultancy firm AWACS. In FY19, the company reported net profit of Rs 42 crore. Piramal said it does not comment on market speculation. Lupin did not respond to ET’s query. JB Chemicals has been an acquisition target for several pharma companies for some years now as the succession issue, coupled with the slowdown in the Indian API industry, have led some promoters to exit. In 2017, Unichem sold its domestic business to Torrent Pharma for Rs 3,600 crore, making Torrent the fifth-largest drug-maker and giving it an option to leverage some legacy brands of Unichem.

Fake leave certificate racket busted in Trichy, two govt hospital drivers arrested

The Times of India-R Gokul

A fake leave certificate was busted in Trichy with the arrest of two drivers working in Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Government Hospital (MGMGH) and KAP Viswanatham Government Medical College. The arrested men have been identified as R Veeramani, 44, of Navalpattu and T Balasubramanian, 51, of Kajamalai Colony. They are permanent government employees. The Government Hospital police arrested them on charges of cheating, forgery, forgery for purpose of cheating, using fake documents as genuine and using counterfeiting device. Dean of MGMGH Dr S Saratha unearthed the racket when she conducted a probe into the increasing number of absentees in the hospital for the past few months. The inquiry revealed that the leave certificates issued to the staff were fake ones with the bogus seal and forged signature of two doctors. Veeramani and Balasubramanian offered to get leave certificates for other employees in return of money. The staff gave them money and got the certificates unmindful of their veracity. The duo were remanded in judicial custody.