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Analysis

The larger implications of the Novartis Glivec judgment

By Sudip Chaudhuri

The Supreme Court judgment on the Novartis-Glivec case has gone beyond technical and legal issues and linked the question of patenting with net benefits to society. What the judgment says and what it implies has significance for patent regimes in developing countries

 

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The cost of drugs: beyond the Supreme Court order

By Sanjay Nagral

The Supreme Court decision denying Novartis a patent for the cancer drug imanitib has been hailed as a victory for the affordable medicines movement. But it won’t make much difference if doctors continue to prescribe expensive branded drugs, patients believe that only expensive drugs work, and the government does little to support the manufacture of affordable medicines

The cost of drugs

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The need to cut pharma super-profits

The draft National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Policy 2011 brings 348 essential drugs under price control, but what about non-essential drugs, which are the bulk of those sold and which can be priced several times higher than their manufacturing cost, asks S Srinivasan

Pharmaceuticals pricing policy 2011

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National Vaccine Policy: For industry, not people's health

By Jacob Puliyel

The new National Vaccine Policy Draft 2011openly favours industry. It provides for advance market commitments for new vaccines, whereby government guarantees a market for the vaccine before it is tested and even if it is not efficacious. Should our vaccine policy focus on the health of our children, or the viability of the vaccine industry?

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Testing grounds, killing fields

As drug companies flock to India to conduct drug trials on the cheap, they capitalise on a combination of money-hungry researchers, a vulnerable population and a lax regulatory system. This is fertile ground for ethical violations that threaten the health and rights of poor Indians.  Read Ankur Paliwal’s article in Down To Earth

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Ethics, equity and genocide

Binayak Sen comments on the WHO’s report on the social determinants of health, and illustrates how an inequitable system keeps large sections of Indians walking with famine by their side

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Certification, corruption, and cost: The fight for a vaccine production policy

India is a global exporter of vaccines but 50% of our children under one are not completely immunised. The government has ordered the reopening of vaccine-manufacturing PSUs, but a strategic plan on consistently meeting India's basic vaccine needs is still not clear. Venkat Srinivasan tells the story of India’s vaccine production programme, a story of politics, dishonesty and misguided priorities

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From 'right to health' to 'right to health insurance'?

The government’s move to scale up and subsidise community health insurance schemes while doing nothing to improve healthcare service delivery is a flawed strategy. It’s like getting PDS shops to distribute mango kernels and mahua seeds as drought relief instead of foodgrains since the poor survive on these anyway, says Oommen C Kurian

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Trial by fire

By Sandhya Srinivasan

In a country where 26% of participants are enrolling for clinical trials just so that they get free or quality healthcare, it is dangerous to allow contract research organisations easy access to patient databases and to offer medicos payment for recruiting patients in trials, says Sandhya Srinivasan

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India's amateur handling of the H1N1 pandemic

Our panicky leaders have adopted the very strategy that the WHO warned against in dealing with the H1N1 outbreak, says leading virologist Dr T Jacob John, pointing out in this exclusive article for Infochange how government should have handled the pandemic

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Panic pandemic

The media and the government health services have unwittingly collaborated to create and escalate public alarm over the H1N1 influenza outbreak in India. Sandhya Srinivasan points out what their response to this public health crisis should have been

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Pandemic flu: What we know, what we don't, and what we should be worried about

By Sandhya Srinivasan

The swine flu pandemic is relatively mild in India so far, but in India and elsewhere what governments must do to prevent the occurrence of such outbreaks is strengthen public health systems, regulate corporate livestock farming, and ensure access to essential drugs and vaccines

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'Malaria deaths occur where political power ends'

The recent changes in the Indian government’s drug policy for the treatment of the deadly falciparum malaria are illogical and harmful. Sandhya Srinivasan analyses the short-sighted response to this public health crisis

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Malaria, a growing concern in India cities

By Dr Siddharth Agarwal

India marked World Malaria Day (April 25) with over 1 million cases of the disease in 2008, half of them of the dangerous P falciparum strain. Since this is largely due to unplanned urban growth and the growing number of urban poor, urban planning that is done keeping community needs in mind would go a long way in checking the spread of malaria

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Are leprosy figures being reduced any which way?

By Sandhya Srinivasan

A startling new study that surveyed 700,000 people in Raigad and Mumbai suggests that the burden of leprosy could be three to nine times the official figures. Obviously, people are not being detected and treated in time. Are the misguided policies of the National Leprosy Elimination Programme leading to a public health failure?

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India still on top of the world polio map

By Ranjita Biswas

Despite launching the largest ever mass immunisation campaign against polio in February 2003, targeting 165 million children, the battle against polio has not been won. To understand the causes of the repeated occurrence, we need to understand the profile of the wild polio virus

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Will the law against organ sale remain a moral victory?

By Sandhya Srinivasan

When India passed the Transplantation of Human Organs Act banning trade in organs, those who had agitated for the law may have thought they had won the battle. Instead the kidney trade has only flourished. The public is being told that the only way to put a stop to the kidney trade by people such as Amit Kumar, who has been running a global trade in organs since 1994, is to regulate the market for human organs

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Missing the wood for the trees

By Ramesh Venkataraman

Following the NFHS survey, the HIV numbers game has begun again. The point is that regardless of the actual number of people infected in India, there can be no complacency or drop in political and societal commitment towards HIV intervention and the rights of positive people

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The importance of social medicine

By George Thomas

Binayak Sen, who was arrested in Chhattisgarh in May, is one of very few medical practitioners in India who see their role as not just saving individual lives but examining and highlighting the social context of disease. Is it just to arrest a doctor who is acting according to his conscience?

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The bogey of sex education

By Neha Madhiwalla

As the tussle between proponents of sex education in schools and conservatives who wish to ban it continues, Neha Madhiwalla writes that the evidence of the benefits of sex education is not very convincing

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Killing ourselves slowly

By Darryl D'Monte

With growing calls for the reintroduction of DDT to fight the resurgence of malaria worldwide, we must not forget the reasons why many countries have banned this toxic substance and other dangerous chemicals that cause cancers and other persistent diseases that impair health and possibly prove fatal

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4 lakh AIDS deaths in India: 'It is pure mathematics'

By Rashme Sehgal

Denis Broun, country representative of UNAIDS, defends a recently-published report by his organisation that states that over 4 lakh AIDS-related deaths occurred in India in 2005 -- the highest in the world

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'We cannot blindly accept international diktats without understanding ground realities'

By Rashme Sehgal

Public health specialist Dr Ritu Priya critiques government policy on bird flu, as well as HIV/AIDS, polio and tuberculosis

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India on alert: Implications of the avian influenza outbreak

By Sandhya Srinivasan

The outbreak of bird flu in Nandurbar district, Maharashtra, is particularly worrisome for a country like India, which has a weak public health system and an annual per capita public health expenditure of just Rs 200

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Letting doctors get away with negligence

By Rakesh Shukla

The medical profession has consistently resisted the jurisdiction of the courts. A recent Supreme Court judgment puts medical professionals in India above the criminal law of the land. But surely it is hazardous to start carving out exceptions to the uniform applicability of criminal law, asks Supreme Court advocate Rakesh Shukla

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Profiteering in the pharmaceutical sector

By Anant Phadke

The Crocin you buy from your local drugstore at 80-90 paise per tablet costs just 15 paise to make. Dr Anant Phadke delves into the various forms of profiteering in the pharmaceutical sector and suggests ways to oppose it

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How to measure a country's HIV burden

By M Prasanna Kumar

The figure for HIV prevalence in India for 2004 looks encouraging -- an increase of only 28,000. But how has this figure been arrived at? And how accurate is it?

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HIV/AIDS: The response to the epidemic

By Sandhya Srinivasan

There are 5 million HIV-positive people in India today. But there is a slight drop in the rate of growth of HIV infection, and the overall prevalence remains below 1%. An overview of HIV/AIDS in India

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Three by Five sparks 'paradigm shift' in India...Or does it?

By T K Rajalakshmi

In December 2003, the Indian government declared a strong policy-cum-programme commitment to provide free ARV treatment to 100,000 AIDS patients. But important issues related to the creation of a conducive atmosphere for AIDS patients, confidentiality and the creation of a health infrastructure within the public health system have still to be addressed

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Doctors must act against violence

By Sandhya Srinivasan

What is the role of the health professional in a world torn apart by war and strife? This theme dominated discussions at the International Health Forum which preceded the World Social Forum in Mumbai

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HIV, sexuality and identity in India

By Maya Indira Ganesh

There has been a legitimate emergence of sexual minorities in India over the last decade. But even as transsexuals or sex workers exult in the opportunity to be heard and seen in mainstream society, we must realise that this is just one small evolutionary step towards raising the self-esteem of marginalised groups

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How international finance is linked to malaria resurgence

By Dr Mira Shiva And Dr Vandana Shiva

Rajasthan is a good case study of the links between international finance, ecological imbalance and health problems. The resurgence of malaria in this previously non-endemic area is the ecological and socio-economic consequence of the policies advocated by the Bretton Woods institutions

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HIV and the health professions: universal precautions are required

By Sandhya Srinivasan

Protection of health personnel and patients from HIV transmission is difficult in a healthcare setting in which nurses may be permitted only two pairs of gloves a day and needles are reused after a perfunctory wash. The answer is not special precautions for HIV-positive patients, but universal precautions for all health workers who come into contact with blood and body fluids

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Yes, you're positive, but there's nothing we can do for you

By Sandhya Srinivasan

What can the National AIDS Control Programme achieve in the absence of integration of HIV-related services into the health system as a whole? The second in a series assessing the HIV/AIDS situation in India

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HIV/AIDS in Manipur: The need to focus on women

By Chitra Ahanthem

In a state with the highest concentration of HIV/AIDS in India, interventions have focused on injecting drug users, neglecting their spouses, sexual partners and children

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