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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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Backgrounders

Agriculture And Food Security : Background & Perspective

Agriculture And Food Security : Background & Perspective

By Devinder Sharma

Pre-Independence India suffered repeated famines, drought and food shortages. But following the Green Revolution in the '60s, yields and foodstocks rose manifold. Now, 30 years later, Indian farmers have realised the follies of their tryst with intensive agriculture. Despite 70 per ...

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Analysis

The organic foods divide in India

The organic foods divide in India

By Rahul Goswami

The divide between farmers growing and selling organic produce in India and the major organic foods and beverages retailers is widening, to the detriment of organic farmers. This was evident at Biofach India 2013 held in Bengaluru

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Features

Ragi over rice

Ragi over rice

By Ananda Siddhartha

As in the rest of India, in Pavagada taluka of Karnataka, ragi is losing out to rice, groundnut and other cash crops. Until 15 years ago, it was the reverse. What are the market and policy pressures that have caused this reversal, and what are its consequences on health and nutri...

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Books & Reports

Vertical farms

Vertical farms

By Sudhirendar Sharma

A new book by Dickson Despommier posits the farm of the future as a vertical farm over 30 floors in any city centre. Powered by renewable energies a vertical farm could meet the food needs of 50,000 people, consume 70-95% less water, restrict the use of harmful agro-chemicals and...

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Punjab Series

Nation's food bowl in crisis

By Anosh Malekar

When the state that was the country's biggest agricultural success story in the 1970s tops the list of indebted farmers, it is obvious that there is something very rotten in the state of agriculture in the country. A three-part series that looks at the agriculture crisis in India's fo...

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News

Stories of change

Nalbari farmers resume cultivation after 25 years

By Ratna Bharali Taukdar

Thousands of farmers in Borigog-Barbhag block, in lower Assam’s Nalbari district, joined hands to dredge a 15-km stretch of a water channel that had blocked and flooded farmlands across 50 villages. For 25 years, farmers had abandoned work on their waterlogged lands. No...

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Changemakers

Urban poverty and the food crisis

A grain in an empty bowl: Government services in the urban context

By Maheen Mirza

Anganwadis, ICDS and PDS are huge government programmes meant to cater to the health and nutritional requirements of the poor. Yet 72.4% of urban poor children in Madhya Pradesh are underweight, 60.4% are undernourished and almost nine out of 10 are anaemic. The fifth and final part o...

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Backgrounders

IT And Development : Background & Perspective

IT And Development : Background & Perspective

By Aditya Dev Sood

What use can a computer be to someone earning less than a dollar a day? What use is information technology in a country that has a low penetration of telephony and computers, where even electricity is not assured, and where millions are still illiterate? These are standard questions...

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Analysis

Free culture for a free society

By V Sasi Kumar

What is it that prompts a group of people in Calicut to start the Chamba Swatantra Cinema Project? How did the world move from copyrights over knowledge, introduced in the 16th-18th centuries and codified as the Statute of Anne, to free software, free knowledge and free culture? And w...

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Features

Do you want to be watched?

The new rules for surveillance under the IT Act are an assault on our freedom. They also seem misguided, says Sunil Abraham . How many terrorists or criminals will be arrested in India thanks to the new ID requirements at cybercafés or a ban on public wi-fi? Intelligence work cannot be replaced...

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Changemakers

Stories of change

The people's voice

By Sherna Gandhy

Every citizen in this country has a right to be heard. But what happens when you live in an area where no mainstream media organisation bothers to penetrate, and when you speak a language no media organisation knows or understands? CGNet Swara uses mobile telephony to break through th...

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News

India turns to ICT for better delivery of welfare schemes

Bihar will become the first state in the country to videograph the distribution of PDS coupons to weed out ineligible recipients. And the Union human resources ministry proposes to use a cheap, indigenously made tablet PC to record BPL and caste data

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