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Indian pharma may gain under Trump drug price reform plan

Trump was mainly taking aim at European countries through this provision, derisively calling their systems “socialist healthcare”.

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Donald Trump

New York, July 28 : Indian pharmaceutical companies may be able to benefit from US President Donald Trump’s plan to reduce the prices of drugs that would allow individuals to import prescription medications directly.

This provision was one of several executive orders Trump has signed to lower the prices of medicines in the US, which are the highest in the world.

Under the order issued last week, individuals can get waivers to import prescription medications “provided such importation poses no additional risk to public safety and results in lower costs to American patients”.

Health Secretary Alex Azar explained that under the “personal importation” provision, the Food and Drug Administration will set up a system to allow the safe import from countries that have regulatory regimes comparable to the US.

The FDA has a presence in India to ensure that medicines made there “meet FDA’s safety and quality requirements”, according to the agency.

The order is scheduled to come into effect on August 24 and in the meanwhile, pharmaceutical companies can come up with proposals to cut costs of medications.

Azar suggested that a model for allowing individuals to import medicines would the system set up by Florida and some Native American tribes’ administrations for getting pharmaceuticals from Canada under previous Trump initiatives.

He said that injectible medicines and controlled drugs such as opioids would not be allowed for in under the personal importation programme.

India exports pharmaceuticals worth about $5.8 billion to the US every year, making it the single largest market.

Unveiling his order, Trump said, “For decades, our citizens have paid the highest prices for drugs – prescription drugs – anywhere in the world, and it’s not even close.”

The same medicines are sold with a much higher markup in the US.

“A pill that would cost $1 could be $7, $8 in our country. Same exact pill,” Trump said, mentioning Germany and Canada in particular.

A major step he has taken is requiring Medicare, the federal health insurance programme for seniors, to pay the lowest prices other countries pay.

Explaining its impact, Trump said that if some other country pays $1 and the US was paying $5, it will now pay only $1.

In reality “what’s going to happen is their number will go up, our number will come very substantially down, and we’ll all agree at two and a half or two or whatever the final number is,” he said.

One effect of this on countries like India is that prices of medications sold there by multinationals could be increased, if the US brings it into how the pricing mechanism is determined. However, India does not have a similar centralised government mechanism for drugs purchase like the US Medicare or those of some European countries.

Trump was mainly taking aim at European countries through this provision, derisively calling their systems “socialist healthcare”.

“We incredibly and foolishly bear the full cost of all research and development, which is massive, in all fairness to the drug companies.”

“It also means that the US taxpayers are effectively subsidising the socialist healthcare systems of foreign welfare states and many other countries.”

(Arul Louis can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter at @arulouis)

Health

8 risk factors that can lead to heart failure

People should also develop a habit of regular health screening to ensure that any possible heart disease could be diagnosed at an early stage, to ensure timely treatment.

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heart failure heart attack

September 20, 2020 : Heart failure is one of the most under-diagnosed heart diseases in our country, contributing to a high number of death rates. The National Heart Failure Registry recently revealed its one-year data, which shows that close to 17 percent of patients die within 90 days of being diagnosed with heart failure. These high death rates are comparable to mortality associated with cancers of the breast and cervix.

There is lot of ambiguity when it comes to understanding heart failure. The disease is often confused with heart attack, or its symptoms are ignored as signs of old age or other diseases. Currently, it’s the leading cause of mortality and repeat hospitalisations amongst all CVDs, with close to 10 million patients in India, Dr Sandeep Seth, Professor of Cardiology, AIIMS, New Delhi told IANSlife.

What is Heart Failure?

Dr Seth explains, heart failure is a chronic and progressive disease in which the heart muscle weakens or stiffens over time, making it difficult for the heart to pump normally. This leads to symptoms like shortness of breath, need for elevated pillows to breath properly while lying down, swelling in the ankles, legs and abdomen, sudden weight gain and constant tiredness or fatigue.

What causes Heart Failure?

Several comorbid conditions and risk factors can cause heart failure. A prior heart attack is one of the key reasons. Sedentary lifestyle, lack of exercise, stress, smoking, excessive consumption of alcohol, drug usage etc., that leads to lifestyle diseases, increases the risk of developing heart failure in the future. Dr Seth lists the factors.

  • Hypertension or high blood pressure makes the heart work harder than it must. Over time, this puts pressure on the heart muscle responsible for the pumping action.
  • Coronary artery disease: Narrowed arteries limit the supply of oxygen-rich blood. The heart pumps harder to meet the need of the limited blood flow resulting in weakened heart muscle.
  • Heart attack: Heart attack and Heart Failure are not similar. Heart attack is a sudden cardiac event that has a direct effect on the basic functioning of the heart. A prior heart attack can majorly cause damaged and mean that the heart will never be able to pump as effectively as it did earlier, leading to Heart Failure.
  • Diabetes: Chronic condition like diabetes increases the risk of high blood pressure and coronary artery disease which in turn increases risk of acute heart failure.
  • Cardiomyopathy: Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle caused due to alcohol consumption and/or smoking or drug abuse or other yet to be discovered causes.
  • Obesity: Being overweight increases risk for abnormal heart function and puts one at the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes etc. In the long run, excessive fat deposition can affect the flow of blood through heart muscle, leading to heart failure.
  • Heart Valves disease: In this ailment, one or more of the valves in your heart doesn’t work properly. This can cause the blood flow through your heart to your body to be disrupted and cause various complications in your body which can lead to heart failure.
  • Irregular heartbeats: Abnormal heart rhythms, especially if they are very frequent and fast, weakens the heart muscle and could cause heart failure.

It’s advisable to adopt an overall healthy lifestyle. One should exercise on a regular basis, refrain from smoking, drinking or drug abuse and eat healthy and nutritious meals. People should also develop a habit of regular health screening to ensure that any possible heart disease could be diagnosed at an early stage, to ensure timely treatment.

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Health Outreach Services during Covid-19

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Anganwadi Healths Outreach

New Delhi: The Government has been regularly reviewing the situation in consultation with States/UTs. In order to improve the nutritional status of Women and Children, Ministry of Women and Child Development is implementing Supplementary Nutrition Programme under Anganwadi Services and Scheme for Adolescent Girls under the Umbrella Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme to children (6 months to 6 years), Pregnant Women, Lactating Mothers and out-of-school Adolescent Girls (11-14 years).

As per the directions issued by Ministry of Home Affairs, under Disaster Management Act, 2005, all the Anganwadi Centres across the country were closed to limit the impact of COVID-19. However, to ensure continuous nutritional support to Anganwadibeneficiaries, Anganwadi Workers and Helpers have been distributing supplementary Nutrition at the doorsteps of the beneficiaries. Further, this Ministry has issued necessary directions to the States/UTs to ensure distribution of food items and nutrition support by Anganwadi workers, once in 15 days, at the doorstep of beneficiaries. In addition, Anganwadi Workers and Anganwadi Helpers have been assisting the local administration in community surveillance, creating awareness or other works assigned to them from time to time.

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issued the guidance note on “Provision of Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, Adolescent Health Plus Nutrition (RMNCAH+N) services during & post COVID-19 Pandemic” with States and UTs which states that campaign mode services such as – mass Vitamin a prophylaxis, campaigns for Intensified Diarrhea Control Fortnight (IDCF), National Deworming Day (NDD) and Anemia can be provided on an alternative mechanism like through home delivery of essential services & commodities etc. based on local situations. The continuation of outreach services through modified VHSNDs and Home visits by health workers was recommended in area beyond buffer zone and green zone. The activities in the containment and buffer zone were recommended through the routine visits of COVID workers. Essential medicine like IFA, ORS, calcium and Zinc are home delivered in containment zones. Specific guidance notes on the provision of the outreach services with all States and UTs to ensure continuity of essential outreach services has been issued and Webinars on implementation of outreach services related to Anemia, Nutrition Rehabilitation Centers (NRCs), Special Newborn Care Units (SNCUs), Diarrhoea prevention, NDD and IYCF practices etc have been organized.

This information was given in a written reply by the Union Minister of Women and Child DevelopmentSmt. Smriti Zubin Irani in Lok Sabha today.

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Mandatory daily antigen test for reporters, Parliament staff

Journalists covering the Monsoon session from press galleries of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha also have the option to undergo the RT-PCR test which is valid for 72 hours.

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Parliament

New Delhi: Amid fresh cases of coronavirus among MPs, reporters and parliamentary staff entering the Parliament complex will have to undergo mandatory antigen test on a daily basis, according to a new protocol put in place.

Members of both Houses are undergoing RT-PCR test on regular intervals on a voluntary basis, said a senior Parliament official.

A member of Parliament can undergo RT-PCR test as many times he or she likes.

Journalists covering the Monsoon session from press galleries of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha also have the option to undergo the RT-PCR test which is valid for 72 hours.

Since the report of the much reliable RT-PCR takes time, antigen test has been made mandatory on a daily basis.

Government officials accompanying their respective ministers during bill discussions also have to show a negative report of RT-PCR test taken within the last 72 hours of their visit to the complex. – PTI

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