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150,000 pharma sales reps go on strike

According to their union, 150,000 pharmaceutical representatives went on strike today to protest against pharmaceutical corruption and mis-selling by their employers. The reps say that they are being unfairly penalised for the sins of some in the industry; “Recently, medical practitioners and medical representatives have become target of concerted attacks of central government, state governments, […]

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Pharma prices may be linked to per capita GDP

In a move sure to upset people worldwide, India has announced that it may introduce a system  of price controls for patented medicines. Here’s the story in today’s Economic Times. The principle would be that the Indian cap would be based on the price that government pays in Australia, Canada, France and the UK. So far,

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Unhealthy at 65: India has 76% shortfall in government doctors

According to the Planning Commission’s draft, the country’s government-run healthcare system is hamstrung because the number of doctors is short of the target by a jaw-dropping 76%, there are 53% fewer nurses , specialist doctors are short by 88%, radiographers are short by 85% and laboratory technicians are short by 80%. To read more please

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President calls for a second freedom struggle against disease, hunger and poverty

India’s new President has called for a “‘second freedom struggle’ to eradicate hunger, disease and poverty,” according to Outlook, the weekly news magazine. Pranab Mukherjee was speaking on the eve of the 65th anniversary of India’s independence. The reference is to the struggle for freedom over more than fifty years leading up to independence. The

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India’s maternal mortality rates have improved, but there’s more to achieve says Health Minister

The issue of maternal mortality is a serious one, especially in rural India, where a vast majority of the population lack basic health services. As part of its Millenium Development Goals (MDG), India is aiming to cut maternal mortality rates by at least 25% by 2015. While states like Kerala and Tamil Nadu have already

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India universal health plans not as promised?

In today’s Hindu, activists say that the Planning Commission is breaking promises to increase health spending in India closer to normal levels for middle-income countries. The activists also say that the Cetre is trying to shift costs to the states.  The future role of the corporate sector in insurance-based managed care plans is, predictably, extremely

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67 percent of rural Punjab households contain a drug addict

Next Sunday’s Sunday Gaurdian has a worrying story about the rising level of drug addiction in Punjab. Here is a striking couple of lines, “three years ago, the state government’s social security department told the Punjab and Haryana High Court that 67% of its rural household had at least one drug addict. The state with highest

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Is India still the world’s hunger capital?

Todays’ Deccan Herald carries a good opinion piece on hunger. Prasenjit Chowdhury says, “India has a terrible record in tackling hunger and malnutrition …. India ranked 66th on the 2008 Global Hunger Index of 88 countries, as per a report released by the Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).” Yet, things aren’t that simple. In their

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More seizure of patents ahead?

There has been  a flurry of stories in the Indian press over the last few days on compulsory licensing, the controversial idea that government can seize intellectual property from an originator company and allow a competitor to make copies under certain circumstances. There is no obvious news hook linking these stories but all have well-informed government sources and the most provocative appeared in the week

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