Friday, July 19, 2013

The farce of price control of drugs in India

Following article explains in simple terms how the govt is fooling the
public in controlling the price of drugs.
They are only supporting the drug industry to make more money at our
cost. REcent attempts are just an eye-wash, half-hearted "shows".
MUST if you want to want to learn what the hell is happening. Thanks a
lot to Anant Phadke


About two months ago, following the Gazette notification of May 15, a
new drug price control regime was put in place. It has been welcomed
in some quarters on the grounds that it will reduce the prices of all
348 medicines — ranging from routinely used medicines like
paracetamol, amoxicillin to anti-tubercular agents like rifampicin —
in the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM). Some medicines,
it's being alleged, will be cheaper by 80 per cent. But a closer look
reveals that the new price control regime is a mere façade to create
an illusion of price-control.

The government has been forced to bring all 348 medicines in the NLEM
under price control due to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by
the All-India Drug Action Network (AIDAN) in the Supreme Court.

During its initial hearing in 2003, the Supreme Court had directed the
government to devise a policy that would ensure that essential
medicines become affordable for ordinary people. After almost 10
years, the government finally decided to extend price control to all
medicines in the NLEM.

However, the new price-control regime defeats its declared objective.
The Supreme Court, during the latest round of hearing in October 2012,
had said that the government should continue with the cost-based
pricing (CBP) that has been used for the 74 medicines that have been
under price control since 1995.

As per CBP, the ceiling price equals manufacturer's cost of production
plus a margin of 100 per cent. As per market-based pricing (MBP), the
ceiling price is the simple average of the prices of all brands that
have more than one per cent market share and have no relation with
their cost of manufacture.

Without providing any rationale for abandoning CBP, the government,
i.e. the ministry of health, has opted for market-based pricing (MBP)
to decide the ceiling prices of medicines to be brought under price

For example, the accompanying table shows that in the case of four
commonly used medicines, the new MBP would be up to 18 times more
compared to CBP. So the ceiling price of 10 tablets of 10mg of
Atorvastatin (used to reduce cholesterol) would be Rs 59.1.

It would have been Rs 5.6 if CBP had continued. Thus, the new
price-control regime merely legitimises the current exorbitantly high
prices of essential medicines.

Not just that. Many medicines which are considered essential by the
WHO have been excluded from price control because India's current NLEM
leaves out many of these. Among anti-asthmatics, though Salbutamol has
been included, other essential anti-asthmatic medicines like
Doxoph­yl­line, Salmeterol, Montel­uk­ast are missing.

Compared to the WHO's Essential Medic­ines List (EML), medicines for
treatment of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis and life-threatening
falciparum malaria (artemether and combination of artemether and
lumefantrine) are missing from the India's NLEM. The WHO's EML
includes 21 vaccines; the Indian NLEM includes only nine.

Also, of the half dozen commonly used, essential, oral anti-diabetic
medicines, NLEM contains only three. Many other critical care
medicines which are very costly are out of price control because they
are not in the NLEM.

Though all brands of the 348 generic medicines in the NLEM are covered
by the Drug Price Control Order, of all the medicines from the same
therapeutic/chemical class, only one would be under price control. No
reasons have been given why this is so.

For example, among medicines for high blood pressure, only Enalapril
has a price cap. All other medicines of the same class
(ACE-inhibitors), like Lisinopril, Peri­n­do­pril, Quinapril,
Ram­i­pril etc, have escaped price control. Obviously, manufactures
will try to migrate from, say, Enalapril, to these other medicines.

As suggested in 2005 by the Pronab Sen Task Force, (set up to
recommend measures to make essential medicines affordable), to prevent
such "migration", all medicines of the same therapeutic class should
be under price control.

Only those Fixed Dose Com­bi­n­ations (FDCs) of esse­n­tial medicines
(for example, iron-folic acid, calcium-Vitamin D, isonex-rifam­p­icin
etc) included in the NLEM are under price control. Hundreds of other
FDCs consisting of all kinds of combinations of two or more medicines
have esc­a­ped price control.

And only standard dosage forms are under price control. Take, for
example, the antibiotic combination of amoxycilin with clauvulanic
acid which is marketed by GlaxoSmithKline under the brand name
Augmentin in tablets of several strengths: 375mg, 625mg and 1,000mg.

Of these, only 625mg tablet is price controlled. Likewise, eight
brands of Atorvastatin 10mg are under price control whereas seven
other products in non-standard dosages (of 15mg, 20 mg, 40mg) remain
out of price control. In all, about half of all dosage forms will be
out of price control.

Overall, out of medicines worth Rs 68,000 crore sold in India every
year, medicines costing Rs 52,000 crore have been carefully kept out
of price control.

Also, every year manufacturers will be free to hike the prices of all
price-controlled medicines at the same rate as the increase in the
Wholesale Price Index (WPI) irrespective of the change in input costs.

Will the Supreme Court see through this façade which seemingly serves
the ordinary citizen from excessive profiteering?

The writer belongs to All India Drug Action Network and can be
contacted at


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Fwd: [sss-global] BJP hikes up old age pension in South Delhi to attract voters


BJP hikes up old age pension in South Delhi to attract voters


PUBLISHED: 16:09 EST, 15 July 2013 UPDATED: 18:13 EST, 15 July 201

In a bid to attract voters for the upcoming assembly elections in the Capital, the BJP-governed South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) on Monday decided not only to increase the number of elderly pensioners but also announced a hike in the pension given to them. 

The proposal provides for adding 50 more pensioners in each of the 104 wards of South Delhi taking the number of elderly pensioners in every ward to 750. 

The sum of the pension will also be raised from Rs 800 to Rs 1,000. 

While the decision may add some votes to the BJP's bag, senior SDMC officials said the move will put an additional burden of around eight crore pushing the budget separated under the elderly pension scheme to Rs 94 crore. 

Trying to do everything it possibly can, the SDMC also said that it will try to pursue the Delhi government to get legal status for all the buildings constructed illegally till June 30 this year in the unauthorised colonies that the corporation had recently regularised. 

The SDMC also declared measures to control the menace of illegal mobile towers that are a big problem in the posh colonies of South Delhi. 

SDMC mayor Sarita Chaudhary, directed the corporation commissioner to compile and submit a detailed report on illegal mobile towers installed in South Delhi, and take action against those who've constructed the towers

Read more: 

2142,Calle Mesa Alta,
CA 95035.USA.


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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Which of the Newspapers are supportive of Senior Citizens?

Which of the Newspapers are supportive of Senior Citizens?

Deccan Chronicle, in a full page advertisement on 2nd July 2013 mentioned that, according to Indian Readership Survey (IRS), Deccan Chronicle Hyderabad enjoys a readership of 4.93 Lakhs while The Times of India has 1.42 Lakhs and The Hindu comes third with 1.12 lakh readers.  This led me to ask the question: Fine, but, is it (Deccan Chronicle) useful to us? As far as we, senior citizens (who form 10% of the population) are concerned, which of these newspapers are sympathetic to our cause? Which newspaper publishes more stories, articles or interviews and so on, affecting the lives of the elderly?  

When I posed this question to my friends, Sri VRV Rao promptly predicted correctly:

Times of India is the only Daily Paper which gives maximum news about Senior Citizens and quite considerate as far as I know. Regarding sympathy, I am doubtful about this. Next comes THE HINDU - It is quite sympathetic towards Elders and tries to give good information about their activities, Old-age Homes, Entertainment, Hobbies etc. This is my opinion. VRV Rao

SSS-GLOBAL is a web based yahoo group for senior citizens. There are 680 members and was ranked FOURTH among all such groups by Yahoo last year. The group has survived 12 years since inception in 2000. One of the specialties of this group is that a very large number of news items of interest to the retiree population – on all relevant topics for 55plus – are meticulously culled out from leading news sources in India and abroad and circulated to all. They invite lot of discussions also. Currently there are 1,41,000 messages exchanged among members. Apart from the moderator, who is an Information Scientist himself, one member Sri VRV Rao has gained specialized expertise in contributing / posting news items. His focus is Senior Citizens. He has sent several thousands of news items all by himself. The message database of sss-global yahoo group is a good source to find answers to the question posed in first paragraph.
A quick search of this sss-global messages database yields the following data:
IRS rank
Times of India
The Hindu
Deccan Chronicle

Therefore you may see that Deccan Chronicle, though enjoys a larger readership than others, is not so senior friendly or senior sympathetic when compared to other newspapers.  What should we do to gain media support in equal measure from all newspapers?              

China passes law forcing kids to visit elderly parents

China has a law to prevent elder abuse. Our MWPSCA is weak and needs revision.Chinese law
is more of a reminder about traditional caring of the elderly, some say. Even if this is the situation, 
it is still better as common man would think twice before going against the law. To that extent EA can be minimized.
Even in India MWPSCA is just an enabling provision. Improper and inadequate implementation, 
lack of awareness even among the police and regulators, are serious issues.

Dr P Vyasamoorthy

China passes law forcing kids to visit elderly parents

China is moving a step further by perpetuating their citizens to take care of their elderly parents.

China is adding a new revision to the Law on Protection of the Rights and Interests of the Elderly People, which was passed in December.

It enforces frequent visits to the elderly and forbids any form of domestic violence, such as insulting or discriminatory language, physical torture and abandonment.

The revision has triggered heated debates as it does not specify appropriate number of visits and neither has it specified any punishment on deferring from the law.

According to the Global Times, China had 185 million people at or above age of 60 by the end of 2011. Cases of abuse against elderly have increased manifold in past few years.

This law stipulates that support to aged parents does not change with their marital status. Although, experts believe the current revision looks more like a reminder of traditional values rather than compulsory law.

This news item has been sent by:

Monday, July 1, 2013

Free or concessional Legal Advice for senior citizens

Free  or Concessional Legal Advice for Senior citizens

Most of you know that in Hyderabad free legal advice is available from the Association of Senior Citizens of Hyderabad. Sri Manoj Kumar (mobile 8801681999), AP High Court Advocate has been kind enough to make himself available for free consultation on every fourth Tuesday of the month at the association's Day Care Center from 3:00pm to 4:30 pm. As Fourth Tuesday is a regular meeting when an external expert speaks, many members will anyhow be coming to DCC. Non-members are also welcome as long as they are senior citizens.

Establishment of permanent Lok Adalat exclusively meant for older persons in AP has been explained earlier.

LOk Adalats meeting on specially specified dates in Haryana have been announced just now.

Now we are happy to add such resources from HelpAge India in New Delhi area.

HelpAge India has empanelled two advocates to assist the elderly on writing of wills and other legal matters–either pro bono or at reduced rates. 

Following are the details of the empanelled advocates:

Ms. Meeta Chaudhury
B-223 A, FF, Greater Kailash- I
New Delhi – 110048
Phone: 9968215981

Ms. Anisha Gupta
435 GF, Jungpura Extension,
Main Mathura Road,New Delhi
Phone: 9873333620, 9312833620
Lawyer’s Chamber No. 273
Delhi High Court, New Delhi


The Hindu and APJ in my life

The Hindu and APJ in my life

APJ referred to in this story is Prof AP Jambulingam and not Ex-President of India popularly known as APJ. There are similarities among them, about that a little later.

Prof AP Jambulingam, nonagenarian (92), passed away on 20th June 2013. He was the Principal of Guindy Engineering College in early sixties, then for two decades Founder Principal of Southern Regional Institute for Training Technical Teachers (later it became Technical Teachers Training Institute (TTTI), and now National Institute for Technical Teacher Training (NITTT). He served as expert in UNESCO and the UN after retirement.
Prof Jambulingam is a simple, humane, God-fearing person. Essentially a mechanical engineer, he turned out to be a leader, an institution builder, a teacher – trainer, educationist and what not? As far I am concerned he was a very considerate and compassionate boss, for I worked under him for about four years as the first librarian of TTTI during late sixties.

It was a job advertisement in “The Hindu” that brought me to him and TTTI. It was again a Hindu advertisement about a vacancy in Indian Detonators that took me away from him to Hyderabad. Again it is now The Hindu obituary advertisement that told me about his separation in a permanent way. He was a marvellous man. It was the tremendous freedom, independence and encouragement he gave (that was innate in him) that helped me set up a decent technical library at TTTI. This has grown over four decades into an enviable Resource Centre, headed presently Dr Ravichandran.

Once, to help his daughter in her school work, he asked me for some info on history of bicycles. Following conversation ensued after his reading up what I gave:

APJ: Who suggested this wonderful book? Though I am a mechanical Engineer I had not known about these things!
Me: Sir, It was Prof Cornelius who asked this book to be bought
APJ: Wonderful. She has done excellent work. Her contributions to the library will be remembered by all.

I wish to point out that Prof APJ and Prof Cornelius HOD, Education, were not getting on well due to certain personal misunderstanding. But APJ won’t mix up personal animosities while judging a person’s professional work. That was APJ.

Prof APJ and President APJ have many things in common. Both are simple. Both are loved by people. Both were leaders of a different kind. Both liked kids. Both were innovative. Both were excellent bosses wherever they happened to work. If you look up to ex-president APJ in great respect with awe I do the same to both – to the latter because of my personal association, to the former because of what I know indirectly about him.

Photo Contest on Elderly workmen by The Hindu

The Hindu has announced a photo contest for depicting the elderly at work.
Read all about it, contribute your original photos or votes for photos already submitted.
I am not surprised to see that already (within a day) some 50 photos are here.
Photos depict the hard life of many downtrodden old people who have to work for keeping hunger away. Pick up your camera, roll up your sleeves,  shoot and submit. Our streets have plenty to offer as genuine heart moving subjects.

  URL to register yourself / submit photo entries is:

If you are not visiting the site for further action there is no point in giving details here!!

From my friends I want to see unusual working conditions or unusual tasks being performed - generaly not expected of old people.

All the BEST. Win a prize. Meanwhile you can share your experiences while shooting here by way of comments or posts.