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

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Balancing Affordability and Availability in a Drug Patent Regime

India needs to find an optimal patenting regime that will safeguard incentives for innovation while simultaneously ensuring that medicines are available at reasonable prices.

Falling Sick, Paying the Price

The decennial National Sample Survey on health and education provides useful information on the health and education of the population. The summary report on health from the 71st round conducted in 2014 allows us to make an initial assessment of three sets of issues. One, the trends in morbidity rates and patterns of morbidity, two, the effectiveness of the public sector in ensuring access to healthcare, and three, the cost of healthcare across public and private sectors.

Business of Hospitals

Serious ethical implications emerge when private hospitals are run as corporate entities and doctors working in these hospitals are given targets to bring in a certain number of patients for hospitalisation and conduct a certain number of surgeries and diagnostic tests to plump up the bottom line. In a quest for profits, corporate hospitals seem to forget that their primary job is to provide appropriate and timely treatment to patients.

Murky Waters of Medical Practice in India

Pervasive greed in contemporary medical practice does not spare even the poorest of the patients. Medical expenses are now considered one of the major triggers of impoverishment in the country. A rapid influx of advanced technologies in areas ranging from drug discovery to diagnostics has generated a greater reliance on assistive technology by the practitioners of modern, Western medicine transforming patients into cases and physicians into technocrats. This paper is a contribution to the ongoing debate on the quality and standards of medical practice in India. It challenges the argument that markets can bring out the optimum in healthcare and shows how market forces have, in fact, militated against patient interests.

Pharma Patents after 10 Years

Ten years on, the progressive provisions of the amended Indian Patents Act are being watered down.

Regulation of Clinical Trials and the Need for Comprehensive Reform

The proposed amendments to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 are inadequate to effect the fundamental changes that the existing regulatory regime is crying out for. A wholesale consolidation and re-enactment of the existing secondary legislation is better suited than piecemeal amendments to the task at hand.

Fair Price Medicine Shops in West Bengal

The 24x7 Fair Price Medicine Shops in the public hospitals of West Bengal have visibly reduced the average price of critical medicine and appliances. Their services should now be extended beyond hospitals so that they reach out to a larger share of patients.  

Mala Fide Decision on Drug Prices

The decision to reduce the powers of the drug pricing body goes against the interest of public health.

The Myth of Branded Generics

The pharmaceutical market in India is unique in that it is dominated by "branded" generics which enjoy a price premium though they are not superior to "unbranded" generics in either pharmacopoeia or therapeutic value. Aggressive marketing of branded generics has led to higher prices, irrational fixed dose combinations and concentration in the industry. It is high time India moved towards a de-branding of generic drugs.

Drug Price Control

The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) released a new set of price notifications for 50 cardiovascular and diabetes medicines under paragraph 19 of the Drug Prices Control Order (DPCO), 2013,

Need for a New Drugs Bill

After a legislative logjam (since 2011) with respect to regulating the pharmaceuticals industry, the new government at the centre has the opportunity to introduce the much-needed changes to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act. The amendment bill, introduced in Parliament on 29 August 2013, aimed to promote rational regulation of safe and effective allopathic drugs. That bill would have been yet another patch on an Act which has already been stretched beyond breaking point. It would have done little to provide a rigorous foundation for putting safety, effectiveness, rationality and need at the heart of the country's drug regulatory system. It is to be hoped that the government will make a complete overhaul of the Act one of its highest priorities.

How Not to Modernise Alternative Medicine Systems

The implications of the Maharashtra government's permission to homeopathic practitioners to prescribe allopathic drugs are manifold. This form of "modernisation" not only threatens the identity of the alternative systems but also hampers their most important characteristic, namely, healing, which has helped most of the medical systems to stand the test of time.

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