December 31, 2011

Maharashtra University of Health Sciences to offer fellowships

Maharashtra University of Health Sciences will be partnering with private hospitals to offer fellowships to medical students in subjects that were earlier not offered in India

Noting that most medical students in the state prefer to abandon India for foreign shores to pursue subspecialty courses in medicine and surgery, the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS) has decided to partner with the state's private hospitals to start fellowship programmes.

The MUHS has already identified around 25 subspecialty subjects -- including Endocrinology, Laparoscopy, Vascular surgery, Nuclear medicine, Geriatrics and Paediatric neurology -- in which the fellowships will be offered.

"Most students prefer to go to foreign universities to specialise in a certain field, after their completing their postgraduation studies. They do this because these subspecialities are not offered at recognised centres in India. Realising that a number of private hospitals in cities -- especially Mumbai -- have doctors practicing these subspecialties, we have decided to start fellowship programmes, which will be recognised by the MUHS," said Dr Arun Jamkar, vice-chancellor of MUHS.

The university has now created a fellowship board, with representatives of private hospitals on its rolls -- to draw up the course details. Dr Gustad Daver, medical director, P D Hinduja hospital, said, "All the courses will extend for a minimum period of one year and a maximum period of two years. The students will also receive a sum as stipend for the entire course period, in which they will get hands-on training. The university will conduct entrance examinations for admission. We are now busy working out the curriculum details."

"By this public private partnership, the untapped expertise existing in private hospitals will be tapped for the benefit of young doctors," he added.

At present, private hospitals only offer courses that are recognised by the Diplomat National Board (DNB). "The DNB norms are stringent, as a result of which we cannot offer courses in all the possible subspecialties. With the MUHS fellowships, students will be benefited by the wider variety of subspecialties on offer," added Daver.

Dr Anup Ramani, robotic uro-oncologist at Lilavati hospital, said, "When I completed my postgraduation in Urology from Sion hospital, there was no institution offering a subspecialty course in robotic uro-oncology. I had to go abroad for training. But today, there are surgeons in most private hospitals who have been received training in foreign universities and and are practicing here. They can turn teachers for our students pursing the subspecialties. These fellowships will help students save on money as well."

Link: Original Article

December 29, 2011

Accreditation boosts image of hospitals in India, say experts

At a time when healthcare seems to be a sort of money-minting business, experts feel that hospitals in India should go for accreditation like National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare (NABH). They opined this at the 'Health and Hospital Conclave -2011' of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

NABH is a constituent board of Quality Council of India that aims at setting benchmark for progress of industry. One of the experts, Parag Rindani, emphasised that going for accreditation for hospitals calls for accountability and consistent excellence and also encourages healthcare organisation for quality healthcare measures.

Rindani was speaking at the second day of the CII conclave during the discussion on 'Changing Face of Indian Healthcare: The Game Changers'.

Dr Vasundhara Atre, a specialist in anaesthesiology from Mumbai, said that the main challenges faced in the healthcare sector in India are reducing maternal and child deaths, malnutrition-related problems, and infectious diseases. "Only seven countries in the world spend less money than India on public health. About70% of India lives in more than 600,000 villages across rural India, and not more than an estimated 30% have access to modern medicine. India needs more than one lakh doctors per year, but we produce 30,000.

The presentation on 'Preparing for NABH / NABL - Doing it the Right Way' highlighted the fact that any hospital should go for the certification not because it just wants the same, but as it is required legally.

Link: Original Article

December 27, 2011

IBM creates a doctor’s Watson

Doctors should be cracking difficult diagnoses with the help of a Watson in their hand.

This one is not about Sherlock Holmes' dear doctor-pal, but IBM's upcoming supercomputer.

Named after Big Blue's founder, Thomas Watson, the machine has been built to process complex language nuances, and later speech, almost like we do.

In three seconds flat, it can tell the doctor the nearest, if not the exact, disease the patient has, said Dr Manish Gupta, Director IBM Research-India and Chief Technologist, IBM India South Asia.

Watson, Dr Gupta recently told Business Line, can search the equivalent of a million books or about 200 million pages of medical literature. It uses IBM's fastest tools and is not connected to the Internet.

If doctors tried to clear their doubts on the Web, it would take time and not yield a conclusive answer; much of medical literature is not on the Web, Dr Gupta reasoned. Watson would show similar cases; suggest treatment; or alert about side-effects of a prescribed medicine.

In the US, IBM has picked partners to commercialise Watson. Dr Gupta said the system should be available worldwide in a year or two.

One model was to offer it to hospitals on cloud. The doctor can tap Watson on a smart phone or a laptop. Other user industries could be customer care, stock exchanges and banks.

While IBM chose the healthcare industry as the first user, Watson would not jeopardise medical jobs.

Dr Gupta emphasised, “We are not at all talking about replacing the doctor.”

Nor would it increase the patient's spend as records would be available across the healthcare chain and reduce repeat-tests.

The first challenge was to increase the use of electronic health records.

Supercomputers have been used by the military, advanced scientific institutions, for weather modelling and drug discovery.

In February, IBM entered Watson into a popular and challenging US quiz show, Jeopardy – which it won over two human champions. And like humans, Dr Gupta said, it also erred on some answers.

Link: Original Article

December 25, 2011

India doesn't have even 1 hospital bed per 1,000 persons

Need admission in a hospital? Chances are that you might not get a bed, however unwell you are. Here is an example - the waiting time for a private ward under the neuro-surgery department at India's premiere All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) is around four to six months.

However, if a patient needs to be admitted in the general bed for the same surgery, the waiting time is more than a year. And this, the Planning Commission says is because of India's acute shortage of hospital beds. The Commission's high level expert group (HLEG) on health says that when it comes to secondary and tertiary care, India lags behind most other countries in the number of hospital beds per 1,000 population, despite having a higher absolute number of hospital beds than other countries.

The World Health Statistics say that India ranks among the lowest in this regard globally, with 0.9 beds per 1,000 population - far below the global average of 2.9 beds. India's National Health Profile 2010 says India has a current public sector availability of one bed per 2012 persons available in 12,760 government hospitals - around 0.5 beds per 1,000 population.

Sri Lanka on the other hand has 3.1 beds per 1,000 population, China 3 beds, Thailand 2.2, Brazil 2.4, USA 3.1 and UK 3.9 beds per 1,000 population. Shakti Gupta, HOD of hospital administration at AIIMS said: "It was recommended in 1948 by Bhore Committee that there should be one bed per 1,000 population. However it's been 63 years since and we still haven't been able to reach that target. At present, India has around 0.7 beds per 1,000 population." Gupta added

The concept is that patients should be investigated on day care basis and if found fit for surgery should be admitted.

The average stay of a patient should be three to four days. Earlier, we would admit a patient, waste 7-10 days on diagnosing the problem and then take him for surgery."

Link: Original Article

December 24, 2011

Panel wants 187 new medical colleges

Aiming to bridge the medical education gap between the northern and southern states, a high-level expert group set up by the Planning Commission has suggested creation of 187 new medical colleges in the next 10 years.

Most of the medical colleges are currently located in the southern states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra with a very few colleges in large populous states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.

“We recommend setting up of 187 new medical colleges over the next 10 years in presently under-served districts with a population of more than 1.5 million,” the panel headed by K Srinath Reddy, president of the Public Health Foundation of India, said in its draft report, a copy of which is available with Deccan Herald.

The highly uneven distribution of medical colleges has resulted in skewed production and unequal availability of doctors across the country. For instance, there is only one medical college for a population of 11.5 million in Bihar, 9.5 million in Uttar Pradesh, 7.3 million in Madhya Pradesh and 6.8 million in Rajasthan.

On the contrary, in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, there is one medical college for a population of 1.5 million, 1.6 million and 1.9 million respecti­vely. The panel has recomm­ended establishing 49 medical colleges in UP, 27 in Bihar, 20 in West Bengal, 18 in MP and 17 in Rajasthan, besides 10 each in Jharkhand and Odisha. The experts also suggested mandating a substantial propo­r­tion of local student enrolment.

Recognising that establishment of so many medical coll­eges would pose a logistical problem for the state governm­ents due to faculty shortage and paucity of resources, the panel recommended linking the new colleges to district hospitals to overcome the shortco­mings.

At the same time, it advised the Plan panel to set up 58 new nursing colleges, 382 nursing sc­­hools and 232 schools for auxiliary nurse and midwives.

The proposals are aimed at improving the doctor-patient ratio besides doubling the nu­mber of nurses and midwives. Currently, one allopathic doctor serves 1,953 people, which can be brought down to 1,201 people by 2025, if the pa­nel’s recommendations are followed.

Link: Original Article

'Homeopathy fast becoming preferred mode of treatment in India'

Homeopathy is not a placebo but is effective in treating many serious diseases, including certain kinds of cancer, and costs just one-fifth of allopathic medication, say experts in the field of homeopathy that is fast becoming a preferred mode of treatment for many in India.

Homeopathic medicines, sourced from plants, "can cure cancer in the initial stages and can cure certain kinds of cancer completely, like breast cancer," said Sushil Vats, senior homeopathic consultant and one of the main organisers at an international homeopathy event in the capital.

In fact, at the 66th World Homeopathic Congress of Limhi (Liga Medicorum Homeopathica Internationalis) here, a case study of a double side breast cancer patient who was treated successfully with homeopathy was presented. According to Vats, the patient was a "Stage five" case.

"Homeopathy can effectively support ongoing allopathic treatment in all types of cancers, improve the quality of life of the patient and also the life span," Vats told IANS on the sidelines of the Dec 1-4 conference.

He said that homeopathy can effectively treat diabetes, thyroid, hypertension, AIDS, asthama, but the results vary from case to case. Sometimes a patient may take longer to show results, he said. "In cases treated for many years with allopathy, it becomes difficult to treat with homeopathy as the patients develop homeopathy drug dependency," he said.

Homeopathy is in fact the number two preferred mode of treatment, after allopathy, in India, as per the government of India survey, and it costs just a fraction, he said. Besides, homeopathy has no side effects or adverse effects, he added.

According to R.K. Manchanda, deputy director (homeopathy) in the Directorate of Indian System of Medicine and Homeopathy, government of NCT and Delhi, the Delhi government "is regularly opening homeopathic dispensaries". At present there are 92 homeopathic dispensaries in the capital, mostly in poor areas, which together see around 1.8 million patients a year.

"Mostly, the patients come to these dispensaries with difficult problems like arthritis, skin allergies and chronic gastric problem and with renal stone complaints," Manchanda told IANS.

Manchanda recounted a survey he and a colleague had done in 2005, which showed that homeopathy costs "just one fifth of allopathic treatment to provide day-to-day care".

The conference, attended by 2,500 delegates from 35 countries, was aimed to project India as a "hub of homeopathy in the world", he said.

If homeopathy is so effective in treating so many difficult diseases, then why was it described as a placebo in a study by Lancet?

According to Vats, the study by Lancet was "biased". He said in the UK, the National Health Service runs many homeopathy clinics and they get a "huge budget". During the recession, the allopathic companies were hit and they floated the theory of homeopathy being a placebo in order to get the government withdraw the budget, he said.

Eswar Das, consultant advisor to the government on homeopathy, said the Lancet study was "not based on homeopathy concepts and philosophy". Explaining, he said, homeopathy does not give one standard dose of a medicine to all patients suffering from a disease. Homeopathy studies the patient in terms of the symptoms, body type, nature, likes, dislikes, etc., and then prescribes the dose of medicine accordingly.

"In India, homeopathy has proper recognition. There is a believability and it is an effective form of treatment," said Manchanda.

Stressing on purity of homeopathic medicine, the government has made manufacturers, who initially numbered around 200, comply with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) for quality assurance. With this coming into force, there are now only around 30 firms that manufacture homeopathic medicines in India, said Vats. The market in India is worth around Rs.1,000 crore. The homeopathic medicine market has grown manifold in last 4-5 years, he informed.

Eswar Das said though homeopathy was "born in Germany it has flourished in India". The system of healing was founded by German doctor Samuel Christian Hahnemann (1755).

Link: Original Article

December 22, 2011

Council of Indian Medicine sets deadline for MGR varsity on syllabus

The tussle between the Tamil Nadu MGR Medical University and the Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM) has got bitter with the council serving a deadline on the varsity to spell out its stance on the syllabus for students of Indian systems of medicine.

The council wrote a letter on October 5, demanding reversal of the university's decision to remove allopathic content from the syllabus for courses on Indian systems of medicine, within 15 days. CCIM, the apex body for Indian medicine had earlier threatened to withdraw recognition for all courses on Indian medicine being conducted by the university.

The university had promised to withdraw another of its controversial decision - to remove the 'surgery' part from the name of the degree - but has been silent on reinstating the removed portions of the syllabus.

The university had decided that undergraduate students of traditional medicine course will not study allopathic contents including surgery, pharmacology, ophthalmology, obstetrics and gynecology.

Following this, on August 17, CCIM secretary P R Sharma wrote a letter to the university stating that the university would be violating provisions of the Indian Medicine Central Council Act 1970 if it deletes contents from the syllabus fixed by the council. State health minister V S Vijay had held a meeting with the university officials, Indian medicine experts, students and health department officials and announced that the university will neither tamper with the syllabus nor change the nomenclature of the degree.

But the university registrar Dr Sudha Seshayyan in a reply to CCIM on September 14saidthe university has decided not to alter the nomenclature of undergraduate degree in Indian medicine and homoeopathy courses. In a letter dated October 5, P R Sharma has asked the university to inform the CCIM about the action taken on the issue of syllabus revision within 15days. ACCIM official said the council would derecogonise all Indian medicine courses if the university does not oblige. The university decision will be vital for the students, who have threatened to go on an indefinite strike on October 20 if the university does not invalidate its syllabus revision.

Link: Original Article

December 20, 2011

In a first, college to teach medicos with mannequins

COIMBATORE: A new methodology of using third generation robotic mannequins instead of patients in imparting medical education has come into being at PSG Institute of Medical Science and Research here on Saturday. This is the first in India, according to PSG medical college director Dr Vimal Kumar Govindan.

Addressing media persons here, Govindan said the innovative way of using 3G mannequins to teach medicos on how to treat patients would be accessible to all the 2,000 students of its group institutions from now onwards. The mannequins made of Norwegian technology would respond to medical care as the same way as that of an actual patient, said Govindan.

"The 3G technology will be enough to help students to learn the first lessons on treating patients. They can also get training on emergency procedures starting from injections to many of the serious cardiac and other health issues over the mannequins," he added.

The mannequins are being made in such a way to have practical training on accident care, maternity care and other medical emergency care. The students can conduct the procedures on these models and the teachers could comfortably explain the corrections, without having embarrassing them in front of patients.

"The major factor which comes as a relief to both the students as well as the patients is that, the students will not have to learn in front of the patients who definitely feel uncomfortable," said Dr S Ramalingam, the principal of the PSG medical college.

The whole idea according to Dr G Dhanabhagyam, the co-ordinator of the programme, is that they have great expectations on the output as they have methodologies to create and monitor the processes.

"From a nearby room, the faculties will be with the help of computers creating medical situations on the 'patient' models. The students will then have to respond with the right procedure. The monitor kept adjacent to the 'patient' connected with the wires will show the recordings as in actual situations. So students can easily understand the various situations they are into and later easily evaluate them," according to Dr G Dhanabhagyam.

The electronic models are equipped in such a way that 'emergency situations' can be created with the computerized mechanisms prompting students to respond appropriately. Mannequins to teach various usual issues were installed.

"There are models for delivery to all the usual everyday emergencies which a medical professional have to encounter routinely," told Dr P Jayakrishnan, an anesthetist. He accepted that the technology will be limited with many of the routine issues faced by the medicos.

Link: Original Article

December 19, 2011

Approve MBBS syllabus at earliest: CBSE to Min

Even as the Union Health Ministry deliberates on the fate of the All-India Common Entrance Test (CET) for MBBS courses, the CBSE has asked it to approve the syllabus at the earliest so that it can finalise prospectus etc for the examination scheduled for May 13, 2012.

The CBSE is entrusted with conducting the test for the largest entrance test for CET which is also known as National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test for undergraduates (NEET-UG). The course which has been prepared and released by the Medical Council of India (MCI), however, still awaits nod from the Health Ministry in view of severe opposition from some states like Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. These states have cited difficulty in holding the examination from 2012.

Racing against time as only five months are left for the CET for admission to all medical colleges across the country, the CBSE has shot off a letter to the Health Ministry saying that timing is crucial as it involves the fate of the lakhs of students.

“The Ministry needs to notify the NEET-UG at the earliest so that we can prepare the prospectus and other logistics accordingly. What if they seek last minute changes in the course. We cannot give wrong information in the prospectus?” said sources in the CBSE.

CBSE was zeroed in for conducting tests as it has the experience of conducing the largest entrance test in India - AIEEE for engineering entrance which close to 11 lakh students take every year.

The CET, since its announcement last year has been mired in the controversy with the MCI and the Health Ministry at loggerheads over its implementation. While the MCI claims the CET with one test for UG medical admissions would avoid stress to students, the Ministry has remained undecided about it citing opposition from the states.

Presently, lakh of students, sit for different tests, including the All India PMT which the CBSE conducts and various state-level medical entrance tests in over 300 colleges including 180 in private sector.

A common test will check private colleges from charging exorbitant sums for admitting students, says the MCI. One test will ensure quality students entering medical education because states would be obliged to fill seats in their respective jurisdictions with students who figure in the All-India merit list. They would be free to prefer students from their areas but they won’t be able to compromise on merit, says the medical education regulator.

Link: Original Article

December 18, 2011

Delhi gets first family clinic on Britain's NHS model

Family doctors might make a comeback in the country with Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit Saturday launching the first-of-its-kind family health clinic based on Britain's National Health Services (NHS) model. “Access to quality, affordable healthcare has been a huge issue in the country and there is a huge gap which the government alone cannot fill. Such projects will reach out to both urban and rural communities,” Dikshit said at the launch.
The clinic — set up by private firm Pathfinder — in Janakpuri area of west Delhi would work through a general physician and nurses in the clinic.

The low-cost primary health care provider will charge Rs 100-300 for the first consultation and is aimed at boosting the primary healthcare system at a local level where tertiary care centres may not be required.

"The centres will also focus on areas such as immunisation, cervical screening, minor surgery, family planning, integrated health-ayurveda, palliative care, district nursing, and diagnostics among others,” said Hardev Pall, director, Pathfinder Health India.

Link: Original Article

December 17, 2011

Plan to relax ban on sex determination tests draws sharp reactions

The Planning Commission’s proposal for relaxing ban on sex determination tests has evoked sharp reactions favouring and disapproving it. The proposal envisages relaxing rules for sex determination of the foetus but giving incentives to stakeholders and mothers, if it is a girl child, to ensure safe delivery.

The National Commission on protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) chairperson, Shantha Sinha, fully agrees that the government should ensure the safety of the foetuses through its network of anganwadi workers, anuxiliary nurse midwives, and accredited social health activists (ASHAs).

The question of adoption is to be interpreted as taking charge of the health of a woman, tracking every pregnancy from the time of conception to the time the child is at least two years old whether boy or girl child. The Pre Conception and Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PC&PNDT) Act alone is not sufficient to combat foeticide.

However, the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) has strongly condemned the Planning Commission’s proposal to promote the “adoption” of unwanted female foetuses in a bid to stem the continuous decline in child sex ratios.

It should be noted that the ban on sex selection was achieved after a long struggle by women’s and health rights organisations, in the face of stiff opposition from certain sections of the medical profession who have utilised existing son preference to earn huge amounts of money by indulging in sex selective practices, a statement issued by the president Shyamali Gupta and general secretary Sudha Sundararaman said.

The Planning Commission’s regressive move, made in the name of “flexibility and choice” tantamounts to accepting the argument that sex selection is a matter of “freedom of choice”, which has already been struck down by the courts while upholding the PC&PNDT Act. However, both the 2001 and the 2011 Census reports have clearly shown that the implementation of the Act has been tardy.

It is most unfortunate that the Planning Commission is actually proposing to undermine existing legal safeguards, by making this preposterous proposal that will only encourage the virtual abandonment of a large number of girl children. It is well known that conditions of most orphanages and remand homes are insecure and deplorable, and innumerable cases of physical and sexual abuse, trafficking, etc. have come to light. The solution is not to “incentivise” the adoption of female foetuses, but to encourage the birth of girls with a slew of economic and social measures that will help to root out the discrimination faced by them.

We demand that the proposal should be immediately withdrawn. The AIDWA plans to petition the Planning Commission and the Ministries of Health and Family Welfare, HRD, Panchayati Raj and Information& Broadcasting in this regard.

The Human Rescue Team (a live knowledge network for human rescue from institutions from India and abroad) on Saturday said it was “legally opposing” the proposal of relaxed sex determination of foetus as it violated the medical ethics and reasonably endangered the girl child.

In a petition filed with the National Human Rights Commission, the National Commission for Women, National Commission on Protection of Child Rights and the Prime Minister’s Office, the team said it found the idea erroneous. “We are also afraid that an arbitrary relaxation in sex determination tests and attached incentives may cause a tremendous increase in female foeticides and even run the risk of projecting girls as a money earning mechanism that may be an uncalled burden on national economy.”

Link: Original Article

December 16, 2011

Superbug scare meant to hit Indian medical tourism

The scare abroad over the superbug or NDM-1 (New Delhi Metallo beta lactamase) last year was deliberately created to tarnish India's image as a medical tourism destination, says VM Katoch, director general of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

"A hype to create some kind of a scare about superbug theory obviously helps some countries," Katoch, who is also secretary in the department of health research, told IANS.

He said there was nothing unusual. "The superbug has been known for years. The scare obviously suited some interest groups abroad. We have always stressed greater precautions and care in levels of hygiene and sanitary conditions in our hospitals."

Katoch was in Agra to attend a conference on advances in molecular techniques and their application in health and diseases.

The conference was jointly organised by the Indian National Science Academy (INSA) and nature, life sciences department of Agra College and the National JALMA Institute for Leprosy and Other Mycobacterial Diseases, Agra.

Katoch did not see any new threat or condition to raise an alarm on the superbug issue.

"Health facilities and treatment in India are fairly good and affordable and there has been a discernible interest in citizens of several countries to take advantage of available medical advances in our country," he added.

The director general of ICMR informed the conference that work on the malaria vaccine was in an advanced stage of trial.

In October, Delhi Health Minister A.K. Walia downplayed the threat of the superbug in the capital and said the prevalence of the infection was "very low" and could not be termed "alarming".

"There is a very low prevalence of NDM-1 infection which exists as confirmed in tests conducted in the ICUs of a number of hospitals. It is between the range of 0.04 percent to 0.08 percent which cannot be stated as alarming," Walia said.

Reports from a British Medical journal had earlier alleged the presence of a bacteria with multi-drug resistant gene NDM-1 that was resistant to almost all antibiotics.

The journal later reported in a study that the NDM-1 was found in Delhi's sewage and drinking water. Scientists feared the spread of the enzyme worldwide due to its high antibiotic resistance, to fight which nothing has been developed so far.

While the health ministry has not admitted on the impact of the NDM-1 on public health, it has been mulling over an antibiotic policy that will also address the issue of hospital-acquired infections (HAI) in the country.

Officials from the health ministry had said the naming of the enzyme after 'New Delhi' was an attempt to malign India as the superbug was found in many countries, not just India.

Link: Original Article

December 15, 2011

40% medicos fail first-year exams

CHENNAI: From topping exams to failing, it has taken them less than a year. Months after acing their 12th standard exams, nearly 40% of all first-year medical students in 27 colleges across the state have failed. They will take the exams again in February 2012 to be promoted to the second year.

This year, the failure percentage has increased by 3-11% in anatomy, physiology and biochemistry, the subjects that first-year students are taught.

The increase is largely attributed to changes in exam and evaluation policies. Unlike in previous years when students would get 40 marks as grace, this year not more than five grace marks were awarded as per Medical Council of India guidelines. Some 221 students benefited from the grace marks this year.

Also, in 2011, a student had to pass all the theory, oral and practical exams. Earlier, a student only needed a combined score of 50% from the two anatomy papers, but this year he/ she had to get 50% in each.

Earlier this year, the academic board of the Dr MGR Medical University fixed the passing minimum in each component of the examination, and this came into effect from August 2011. Deans and principals of all affiliated colleges were informed eight months before the examinations. "We had to do this to build better doctors. Medicos can't afford to leave out portions in choices. They can't say I failed in anatomy first paper but scored high in the second paper. It does not work," said university vice-chancellor Dr Mayilvahanan Natarajan.

Changes in exam and evaluation rules have led to this year's increase in the failure percentage of first-year medical students, academicians say. While these procedural changes may have contributed to this year's spike, a high percentage of first-year students fail every year, they add.

The dean of Madras Medical College (MMC) Dr V Kanakasabai agrees with the medical university's examination reforms, such as awarding fewer grace marks, but insists on better school education.

"We get the cream of students into our college. The quick dip in academic performance has something to do with the quality of students coming into medical colleges. They probably are so used to rote-based learning that they simply can't adapt themselves so quickly to concept-based learning," he said. At MMC, where seats get filled hours after counselling for admissions begins, nearly 17% of students failed in anatomy this year.

Every year, the fight to enter medical colleges gets tougher with more and more students scoring better in their class 12 examination. Unlike other states, students in Tamil Nadu are admitted to colleges based on their score in class 12. The state government feels eliminating common entrance will give rural students a chance to get into medical colleges. Senior doctors like Dr Rajasekaran feel that it's important to test students' aptitude before they are admitted to medical colleges and that can be done only through a common medical test. Among the 2008 batch of students who appeared for the break batch exam in February 2010, only 45% of the students passed in physiology. "We really don't know if they even like to study medicine or if they are pushed into it by parents," he said.

The reasons could be systemic, too. First year courses are considered non-clinical and the faculty of these courses is in short supply. For instance, there are less than 10 forensic experts for 17 medical colleges across the state. "Students are used to being spoon fed. In many medical colleges, they would only brief students on topics in almost all non-clinical subjects," said Dr G Ravindranath, who heads the Doctors Association for Social Equality.

Added to these are the new challenges of a professional education. From being school students, they are suddenly considered adults and thrown into a high-pressure environment of long hours, late nights and unsupervised lives. Living in hostels could add to the suddenness of the change that's taken over them. "Many students are forced to move to cities. Some come from villages and small towns. They have to adapt a lot. They tend to miss out on academics while they are adapting," said Dr Ravindranathan.

TIMES VIEW

Faculty and eminent doctors are not surprised that students with near-perfect scores in class 12 do poorly in the first year medical exams. Inching up, the failure rate stands at 40% this year. The current increase is attributed to a change in exam rules which gives fewer grace marks and requires students to pass all subjects. But the problem is deeper and systemic. The failure of students exposes the limitations of the school education system. Toppers coming from TN are reared in rote-based learning whereas professional education requires conceptual learning. School education is clearly in need of an overhaul

Link: Original Article

November 06, 2011

Bahrain jails 20 doctors after democracy protests

Bahrain jailed 20 doctors on Thursday for between five and 15 years on theft and other charges, the state news agency said, in what critics claimed was reprisal for treating protesters during unrest in the Gulf kingdom this year. A security court also sentenced a man to death for killing a policeman by driving his car over him several times and joining illegal gatherings for "terrorist goals," the BNA news agency said. Another man was handed a life term for his involvement. The doctors, who denied the charges, were among dozens of medical staff arrested during protests led by the island's Shi'ite majority demanding an end to sectarian discrimination and a greater say in government. Bahrain's Sunni Muslim rulers quashed the protests in March, with the help of troops from fellow Sunni neighbours Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. At least 30 people were killed, hundreds wounded and more than 1,000 detained -- mostly Shi'ites -- in the crackdown. The doctors were charged with stealing medicine, stockpiling weapons and occupying a hospital during the unrest and in addition were jailed for forcibly occupying a hospital, spreading lies and false news, withholding treatment, inciting hatred of Bahrain's rulers and calling for their overthrow. "We were shocked by the verdicts because we were expecting the doctors would be proved innocent of the crime of occupying the Salmaniya medical complex," defence lawyer Mohsen al-Alawi said, adding the hearing had lasted no more than 10 minutes. The doctors say the charges against them were invented by the authorities to punish medical staff for treating people who took part in anti-government protests. "Those doctors who have been found guilty were charged with abusing the hospital for political purposes. Nobody is above the law," a spokesman for the government's Information Affairs Authority (IAA) said. Ten of the doctors, including senior physician Ali Al-Ekri, were given 15-year terms, two were sentenced to 10 years in prison and the rest to five. "After today's verdict and those issued yesterday we feel pessimism," Alawi said, adding they would appeal against the decision. On Wednesday a military court upheld life sentences against Shi'ite opposition leaders for organising protests in a trial described as a "sham" by Amnesty International, which also called the latest proceedings a "travesty of justice." In Washington, a U.S. State Department spokesman said the United States was "deeply disturbed" by the sentencing of the doctors. "We continue to urge the Bahraini government to abide by its commitment to transparent judicial proceedings, including a fair trial, access to attorneys and verdicts based on credible evidence," spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement. The British government voiced concern over the sentences. "These sentences appear disproportionate to the charges brought," British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Thursday. "These are worrying developments that could undermine the Bahraini government's moves towards dialogue and the reform needed for long-term stability in Bahrain." OPEN FOR DISCUSSION A senior Bahraini official said the government was still prepared to hold more talks with all opposition parties on political reforms to try to end protests that threaten to hold up the economy and scratch its business-friendly image. Sheikh Abdul-Aziz bin Mubarak al-Khalifa, a senior adviser at the IAA, also said Bahrain had begun receiving some of the $10 billion in economic aid promised by fellow Gulf Arab nations. "Everything is open for discussion except regime change. That doesn't mean it has to be discussed today (but) the king said reforms are not going to stop," he said. "Other issues can be brought to the table -- when and how, I'm not sure." Bahrain says it will expand parliament's powers of monitoring government ministers, recommendations that came from a national dialogue held after the U.S. ally crushed pro-democracy protests earlier this year. But Shi'ite opposition groups, headed by the Wefaq party, want the elected chamber to have real legislative power as well as a new prime minister. The current incumbent, an uncle of the king, has occupied the post since 1971. The conflict dragged in regional powers; Bahrain accused the opposition of pursuing a sectarian agenda backed by non-Arab Shi'ite giant Iran, just across Gulf waters. The United States, whose Fifth Fleet is stationed in Manama, says the government should talk to Wefaq. Link: Original Article

November 04, 2011

SMS system soon to check fake drugs

Pharma companies in the country may be asked to install an SMS-activated system to counter fake drugs in the market. Companies will need to print a unique number on medicine strips which the buyers can SMS to the customer care for verification. Recommendations of a task force report expected on Friday will make it mandatory for drug-manufacturing companies to have the software that will respond to text messages from consumers. Unique ID and bar-coding are the other options before the task force and will be weighed against SMS alerts, task force chairman HG Koshia told ET. The central government-appointed task force has representatives from various ministries and drug controlling authorities. It will hold final discussions on Friday in Gandhinagar on the way ahead in tackling the counterfeit medicines menace. "We are seriously pondering on the SMS-based system to counter the counterfeit menace in the country, says Koshia who is also the commissioner of Gujarat Food & Drug Control Administration. Globally, the counterfeit drug industry is estimated at $75 billion. No figures are available for the Indian market, but a government's response in Lok Sabha last year put the number of fake drugs at 46 per 1,000. Indian government has already mandated bar-coding of all drugs meant for exports from October 1. Indian companies faced major embarrassment in December 2009 when spurious anti-malaria drugs bearing made-in-India tag were seized in Nigeria. Later, it was discovered that the drugs originated from China and the Chinese government awarded death plenty to six traders found involved. The Task Force for Tracing and Tracking of Spurious Medicines (TF-TTSM) has been set up by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare with representations from health, commerce, law and consumer affairs ministries. Drug controllers of Karnataka and two representatives from Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) office too are in the task force which will submit its report in two months. Mr Koshia said, the task force will look at simplified approach that can assist patients inspect a drug without opening the package and verify the source or manufacturer. A handful of companies have voluntarily adopted different verification systems to overcome the spurious drug problem, he pointed out. Pharma associations however, are apprehensive of the cost burden that the new system will put on the manufacturers. KS Chhabra, honorary secretary, Indian Drug Manufacturers' Association (IDMA), Gujarat state board, said: "Prima-facie it's a right move. The government has to modernise the drug industry as per the global norms. While the big companies have the resources, those in the small and medium segment may not be able to invest in the new system immediately." Link: Original Article

November 02, 2011

XLRI launches course in healthcare management with Apollo Hospitals

XLRI Jamshedpur has joined hands with the Apollo Hospitals Group to start a one-year full time course in healthcare management. The first batch of the programme, christened Executive Diploma in General Management & Health Care, will kick-off from March next year. The course designed and developed jointly by XLRI Jamshedpur and Apollo Group will have 28 courses which will be taught in one year. Faculty members from both the institutes will conduct the programme and will entail a one-month internship in healthcare industry. "This alliance with Apollo Hospitals will provide a plethora of opportunities for those planning to pursue a career in healthcare industry. The need for professionally trained hospital managers is being increasingly felt in Indian hospitals, whether private or public," said XLRI director E. Abraham, S.J. As per a recent CII report, employment opportunity in healthcare is expected to increase by at least 2.5 million by 2012. "This program will help in creating management professionals with domain knowledge and will offer ample career opportunities in both the management and health care sector either in a business role or a functional role," said Abraham. Graduates from any recognised university and in any discipline with minimum of three years of experience after graduation can apply for this program. Aspiring candidates will have to appear for a written test, to be conducted at seven selected centres of Apollo, followed by interviews at XLRI campus. After successful completion of the program, students will be awarded certificates jointly by XLRI and Apollo Group. Incidentally, Apollo Hospitals and XLRI have also partnered to promote leadership and management education by introducing a one-year postgraduate certificate in general management for Apollo Hospital employees. Link: Original Article

October 31, 2011

Docs to spend more time with patients soon

The Medical Council of India (MCI) may soon specify how much time doctors should spend with their patients so that the regimen of medicines being prescribed to them is clear. A recent World Medicines Situation 2011 report brought out by the World Health Organization (WHO) — as reported by TOI first — had recently said that doctors, on an average, in developing countries spend less than 60 seconds in prescribing medicines and explaining the regimen to their patients. Consequently, only half of the patients receive any advice on how to take their medicines and about one-third of them don't know how to take drugs immediately on leaving the facility. Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said on Friday that the government proposes to issue an advisory to the MCI to disseminate appropriate instructions among all registered medical practitioners. According to WHO, the dispensing process greatly influences how medicines are used. The WHO database shows that the dispensing time is a minute. "In such circumstances it is not surprising that patient adherence to medicines is poor," the report said. Azad said, "The doctor population ratio is not favourable in our country. Hence, there is tremendous pressure on the doctors serving in public sector hospitals. This may be the major reason for patients getting less than adequate time for consultation." MCI's own assessment says India has just one doctor for 1,700 people. In comparison, the doctor population ratio globally is 1.5:1,000. MCI has set a target to have 1 doctor for 1,000 people by 2031. The assessment note, available with TOI, also looked at the situation in other countries. Somalia has one doctor for 10, 000; Pakistan has 1:1,923 and Egypt 1: 1,484. China's doctor population ratio stands at 1:1,063; South Korea 1:951; Brazil 1:844, Singapore 1:714, Japan 1:606; Thailand 1:500; UK 1:469; the US 1:350 and Germany 1:296. Kathleen Holloway from WHO's department of essential medicines and pharmaceutical policies said, "Irrational use of medicines is a serious global problem that is wasteful and harmful. In developing countries, in primary care, less than 40% of patients in public sector and 30% of patients in private sector are treated in accordance with standard treatment guidelines." The report cites, only about 60% countries train their medical students on various aspects of prescribing medicines and only about 50% require any form of continuing medical education. The basic training for nurses and paramedical staff, who often do a bulk of prescribing, was even less — only about 40% of countries give them any basic training on how to prescribe. The report shows, though around 80% of all prescribed medicines are dispensed — usually, they are done by untrained personnel — and as many as 20%–50% of medicines dispensed are not labelled. WHO feels many countries are making relatively little investment in promoting rational use of medicines. The report had also said that two-thirds of all antibiotics are sold without prescription through unregulated private sectors. Low adherence levels by patients are common and many patients are taking antibiotics in less than the prescribed dose or for a shortened duration — like three instead of five days. Link: Original Article

October 29, 2011

Govt. concerned over exodus of doctors: Health Min

Government on Friday expressed concern over the growing exodus of doctors from the country and maintained that appropriate measures, including relaxing norms for opening new medical colleges, to meet the shortage are being taken. Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad informed the Lok Sabha during Question Hour that 3,600 doctors had left the country to work abroad in the last three years. “There is an overall shortage of doctors in the country. So private sector will try to attract the doctors from the public sector,” Mr. Azad said. He said most of these doctors who were working for the private sector or had gone to countries like the U.S. and the U.K. were specialists and super-specialists. Mr. Azad claimed that the government was taking measures to deal with the situation. “Enhancing human resources for health particularly in the rural areas is one of the focal areas of the government. It has been taking measures like relaxing norms for opening new medical colleges and providing central assistance for upgrading and strengthening of existing state medical colleges,” the minister said. Other steps being taken are multi-skilling of doctors to overcome shortage of specialists and providing incentives to serve in rural areas and augmenting human resources in health to improve the overall health delivery system. Link: Original Article

October 27, 2011

Outsourcing education: Malaysian doctors will be made in Belgaum

While organisations are known to outsource IT projects and various works to other countries, here is a case you might not have heard of: University of Science Malaysia (USM) has outsourced the entire process of education to a medical college in Belgaum, which caters exclusively to students from the south-east Asian nation. KLE Group of Institutions has set up a college on a 10-acre campus in Belgaum that imparts medical education exclusively to students from south-east Asian countries, mainly Malaysia. Prabhakar Kore, chairman of the group, told DNA that they started the college after USM approached them in this regard. “We will provide good teaching along with infrastructure but the examination and curriculum is as per their (USM) syllabus,” Kore said. He informed that USM would select the students. The five-year course, called MD, is different from Indian syllabus. How it happened Kore said USM wanted to start a college in Malaysia itself but could not do so because of various hurdles posed by local rules. He said Malaysia has few teachers for medical stream and hiring Indian teachers is not practical either because getting a local licence for it is tough. Further, he said, even his group cannot set up a college there because of the rules. However, he said the KLE Group could cater to the needs of the foreign students with their existing infrastructure in India. He said they have been getting students from other countries since 1965. Shifting his attention to the college that is being started in association with USM, he said from this academic year they would be getting 100 students in every batch. About fees, Kore said it was not finalised yet and a call on it would be taken after considering expenditures on lab, faculty, building, hostel and other infrastructure. Link: Original Article

October 25, 2011

India records highest number of new born deaths: UN

More new born babies die in India annually than in any other country, even though the number of neonatal deaths around the world has seen a slow decline, a new study by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said. New born deaths decreased from 4.6 million in 1990 to 3.3 million in 2009, and fell slightly faster in the years since 2000, according to the study led by researchers from WHO, Save the Children and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The study, which covers a 20-year-period and all the 193 WHO member states, found that new born deaths - characterised as deaths in the first four weeks of life (neonatal period) – account for 41 % of all child deaths before the age of five. Almost 99 % of the newborn deaths occur in the developing world, with more than half taking place in the five large countries of India, Nigeria, Pakistan, China and Congo. "India alone has more than 900,000 newborn deaths per year, nearly 28 % of the global total," WHO said, adding that India had the largest number of neonatal deaths throughout the study. Nigeria, the world's seventh most populous country, ranked second in new born deaths – up from fifth in 1990. Three quarters of neonatal deaths around the world are caused by pre-term delivery, asphyxia and severe infections, such as sepsis and pneumonia. WHO pointed out that two thirds or more of these deaths can be prevented with existing interventions. Link: Original Article

October 22, 2011

CBI decodes scam, nails ex-MCI chief Ketan Desai

One and a half years after the don of the Medical Council of India, Ketan Desai was arrested for taking a bribe of Rs 2 crore, the Central Bureau of Investigation is finally ready with a chargesheet. CNN-IBN has accessed the confidential papers that document how the deal was struck, rules bent, quality of medical education compromised and how money changed hands. The CBI decoded the modus operandi of former MCI chief Ketan Desai and his tout JP Singh. Sources say that Desai used code words like 'Badal' for Punjab colleges and 'Mamata' for West Bengal colleges. The Key characters in the conspiracy were: Dr Ketan Desai, President of the Medical Council of India Dr Sukhvinder Singh, Vice Chairman of Gian Sagar Charitable Trust JP Singh, Tout According to the CBI, Desai entered into a conspiracy with JP Singh and Sukhwinder Singh to grant permission to Gian Sagar Medical College in Patiala for admission of students for 2010-2011 for different courses for which the college did not have the required facilities. Conversation tapped by the CBI: Here's the transcript of a phone conversation tapped by the CBI on the day the executive committee of the MCI was to examine Gyan Sagar Medical College. Ketan Desai: I will be late today…there is a meeting of the Exective Committee. JP Singh: yes but you've already decided to help those poor people. Ketan Desai: yes but there are a lot of problems, its only cement and steel. JP Singh: okay. Ketan Desai: It will be very difficult for me. Ten days later JP Singh struck a deal with the Vice Chairman of Gyan Sagar Medical College, Sukhvinder Singh. JP Singh: Its just a mandatory requirement(second inspection). We have to get it done. Sukhwinder Singh: okay. JP Singh: you have to show an updated version of the report. The person who did not have choley bature will be there again. Sukhwinder Singh: the same inspector? JP Singh: Yes, He will get the work done. During a re-inspection on March 22, 2010, the MCI again said that there was no auditorium. The college authorities gave an undertaking to complete the construction within one week. The Executive Committee of the MCI on Arpil 5, 2010, suddenly approved the college and recommended the government that permission be granted for admitting fourth year MBBS students. Desai then called JP Singh using code language to say that a deal had been agreed upon. Ketan Desai: 'Badal's' relatives were here today. JP Singh: There was a blockage, he needed an angioplasty. Ketan Desai: Yes, I put in a stent, now it is okay. He will not need surgery. Based on these tapped conversations the CBI raided JP Singh's residence in Vasant Kunj on the April 23 and recovered a sum of Rs 2 crore, sent by Sukhwinder Singh, meant to be delivered to Desai. In the course of its investigation, the CBI got the voice samples of Desai and others verified. After Desai's arrest, CNN-IBN conducted a series of investigations that exposed how Desai ran the Medical Council of India like a cartel, extorting money from private colleges to grant them permission. While the government is struggling to clean the mess left behind by him - Desai today is out on bail. But the evidence against him is too strong to ignore now. Link: Original Article

October 21, 2011

Cabinet nod for amendments to NIMHANS Bill

Bangalore-based NIMHANS is all set to be re-constituted as a body corporate with all properties currently with the Union health ministry being transferred to the institute. The Union Cabinet, at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, approved the amendments to the NIMHANS, Bangalore Bill 2010 based on the recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare. While the Cabinet rejected the Committee's suggestion against incorporation of the institute as a body corporate, it accepted the suggestions on composition of the institute. "No change in Clause 4 (Incorporation of Institute) of the Bill is proposed in view of the legal advice obtained from the Department of Legal Affairs," Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni told reporters here. She said the Central Government will nominate the president of the institute from among the members other than the director. The original Bill had proposed that the Union Health Minister be the president of the institute, a proposal opposed by the Parliamentary Standing Committee which stressed that a political person should not head the institute. The National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore Bill 2010, which was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on December 7 last year, proposes to declare the institute as an institution of national importance. As per the amendments approved by the Cabinet, the institute shall consist of the chief secretary or his nominee, not below the rank of secretary, to the government of Karnataka, ex-officio. Link: Original Article

October 20, 2011

Hospitals ‘mint' money on heart stents

Company-cardiologist nexus leaves patients high and dry The stents, meant to unclog arteries of the heart, have become a major source to make a fast buck for many hospitals in the capital. With no mechanism to regulate the sale or use of stents, hospitals have developed a profit generating commission system at the cost of patients, with the tacit approval of cardiologists and stent manufacturing companies. There is no strong regulatory body such as the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) to monitor and regulate stents industry in India. As a result, Indian stents, according to experts familiar with the industry, although good in quality, are seldom prescribed and used on patients. Only imported stents are used and this opens up opportunities for the hospital management to charge exorbitantly. The government does not have a ‘pricing' control system of stents; as a result, patients are forced to pay hefty amounts. The commission system of stents works in an intricate way. “Suppose, there are four imported stent companies vying for a ‘contract' with a hospital. The company that supplies an imported stent at a very low price than the others is recommended by the cardiologist and chosen by the hospital. Only that stent will be used for a fixed period of time on all the patients by the hospital. Thanks to no regulatory body in India, these companies compromise on quality because they can't maintain quality standards at such cheap prices,” reveals a doctor close to the system. The stent manufacturing company first ‘ropes in' the cardiologist by coming into an agreement over the commission. After that, the company takes the cardiologist-approved stent to the hospital management for approval and eventually fixes commission to the hospital. “Unfortunately, the hospital and the doctors act like middlemen in a vegetable market who make money at the cost of patients. The Maximum Retail Price (MRP) of the stents will be hefty but the actual rate at which the hospitals purchase the stents will be very low. On some category of stents, hospitals make 100 per cent profit,” doctors concede. As a result of these commission schemes, the hapless patient ends up paying hefty amounts. “It all boils down to ethics. Nobody can question the surgeon on what kind of stent they are using on the operation table,” senior doctors say. In addition to charging the stents at MRP, corporate hospitals have introduced a system of imposing ‘handling charges' in the final medical bill. “In addition to the MRP, on an average, hospitals charge an extra 15 to 20 per cent on each stent towards handling charges. The government has literally turned a blind eye towards this malpractice,” officials close to the system said. Link: Original Article

October 18, 2011

Indian generic drug firms - pharma MNC patent fight to determine price of medicines

Last month, former Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium launched an impassioned argument in the Supreme Court against the rejection of a patent to Glivec, a leukemia drug made by pharma MNC Novartis. His appeal, which ran for three successive days, was directed at a controversial provision in the country's patent laws that have largely favoured domestic drugmakers. A week earlier, Natco Pharma had filed the country's first compulsory licensing application, a provision that allows a generic drugmaker to make and sell a cheaper version of a patented drug by paying royalties. The Indian company was taking aim at German firm Bayer AG's patented cancer drug Nexavar. In Natco's case, the government will decide if its application deserves merit. Whichever way the cases go, their outcomes will have far-reaching implications on the country's patent regime, which is at a tipping point thanks to a long-running battle between global drugmakers on one side and local companies and health activists on the other. The verdicts are also expected to bring clarity on a contentious issue and influence the plans of drug MNCs in India. Final Word Both sides are hopeful that the verdicts will go their way. "A loud and clear statement [will go out] to all that for India, nothing is more important than its people," says Dilip G Shah, secretary general at Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance, which lobbies for big Indian generic firms. But leading intellectual property lawyer Pravin Anand, who represents several foreign drugmakers, says the government and industry have not given due respect to innovations or patents. "For years, we have been saying we are not ready. It is time we bite the bullet," says Anand. In any case, the cases will have a significant bearing on the grant of patents in the country, thereby affecting the cost of treatment. Generic medicines produced by Indian companies are cheaper by up to 35 times than foreign drugs. Novartis is seeking clarity on the interpretation of Section 3(d) of the patent law, a provision that rejects patent claims for incremental innovation unless it provides significantly enhanced thereupatic efficacy over known compounds. The provision has long been the cause of the rejection of several patent claims in India's four patent offices and courts. The case centres on the legal interpretation of certain terms in the section such as "efficacy" and "known substances". Novartis has faced two reversals related to the drug in lower courts. The case, now in the final leg, is due to be heard afresh after one of the judges recused himself. Natco's application will decide the government's policy on allowing generic firms to market their version in public interest, dreaded words for a patent holder. Natco says Bayer's drug, at about `2.85 lakh for a month's dose, is unaffordable for patients. The company wants the government to force Bayer to grant a licence to sell its own version at `8,900, or 32 times cheaper. Industry watchers have dubbed the move as a small step for Natco but a giant leap for the Indian generic industry. Amit Sengupta of the People's Health Movement says a favourable verdict will encourage more Indian companies to knock on the government's doors. Weak Regime? Despite reservations from some quarters, India adopted a new patent regime in 2005 that gives a patent holder 20 years exclusive rights to sell its products in a country where about a third lives below poverty line and cost of health care is among the main causes of indebtedness. Until then, India followed a patent regime . adopted by the Indira Gandhiled government in 1971 . that allowed local firms to make generic copies of patented products as long as they used a different process. The new patent regime also ushered in a growing number of patent disputes between global drugmakers and Indian generic companies. MNCs have been calling for stricter enforcement and interpretation of some its clauses. Their dismay stems from the practice of lower courts typically siding with Indian companies, bearing in mind public interest. "There are some issues that need to be addressed such as the interpretation of Section 3(d) and issue of data exclusivity," says Tapan J Ray, director general at Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI). But Pratibha Singh, another Delhibased lawyer, says the IPR implementation since 2005 has been 'absolutely perfect'. The objections of a few pharma firms do not mean the implementation is ineffective. Still, some independent experts say though India's patent regime appears fairly sound on paper, there is room for improvement. ''There are still several gaps in terms of its actual implementation,'' says Shamnad Basheer, professor in IP Law at National University of Juridical Sciences. This includes a shortage of well-qualified patent professionals, limited capacity at patent office and courts, among other constraints. What is now clear is that India Inc, in particular the drug industry, will have to live with patent disputes for at least 50 years as is in the developed markets, says Singh. Global MNCs, meanwhile, have threatened to halt their investments in India, particularly in R&D. Firms such as Novartis have shown that it is no empty threat. According to Shah, it's a trade-off between FDI and public health. The Indian pharmaceutical industry has emerged as a global player on its own and it is capable of judging its interests, he says. The key concern of the government and health activists is that a weak patent regime would make drugs unaffordable. If Novartis wins, India may end up granting far more patents than required under international trade rules or envisioned by India's lawmakers, says Geneva-based NGO Medicines Sans Frontiers. The best way for the government to balance promoting innovations and access to drugs is by limiting grant of patents to deserving inventions, say experts. ''Compulsory licensing is a key tool in this balance between innovation incentives and access to medicines as it ensures easy availability of affordable medicines and also compensating the innovator,'' says Basheer. Link: Original Article

October 16, 2011

Delhi docs at heart of UK medical insurance scam

Indian doctors and their touts providing false medical certificates as part of an insurance scam for visiting foreign tourists have been named and shamed by investigating journalists of a British newspaper. UK medical insurers estimate that India accounts for at least six cases of medical insurance fraud every month worth lakhs of rupees. India is not the only South Asian country to which medical insurance scams are sourced. Earlier this year, a Pakistani-origin businesswoman, Rozeena Butt, tried to claim £2.2 million from insurers after pretending to die from dehydration in Pakistan. She was exposed when police investigators found her own fingerprints on her death certificate! India-centred scams are often promoted by touts operating from commercial centres like Connaught Place in Delhi, who work hand-in-glove with corrupt doctors, and in one case, even with the owner of an ambulance service. London's Sunday Times newspaper has identified a clinic in South Delhi where the doctor in-charge fabricated nine medical bills worth Rs 1,80,220 before demanding his cut of around 20 per cent. He even drove the visiting reporter to a cash machine so that he could collect his share of the bogus transaction. Afterwards, he commented, "Buy a bottle of beer and drink on the street. That's the best thing you can do in India." Although the doctor’s corrupt behaviour was captured on video, he subsequently denied he had done anything wrong, including given a false medical report. He told the Sunday Times, "It’s not possible on earth. It did not happen. We have a very strict system here. When a patient comes here we see what are the symptoms. I remember that guy (the reporter); he was having serious food poisoning. He had come from some other country, I don't remember from which place he had come. Try to understand, he had that disease… he was suffering from loose motions or something. Food poisoning is a serious disease in India." The newspaper also names a dentist based at a clinic in Delhi's Palam area close to the international airport. He also handed over fabricated medical documents falsely claiming that the newspaper's reporter had been hospitalised for six days suffering from dengue fever. The newspaper goes on to quote the dentist as saying, "There is an MD, medicine, at a hospital. I can get stuff made there. We can show you were admitted there for a few days. Kidney stones is one thing that cannot be proved, nothing show up (afterwards) for six days. The doctor charges 20,000 rupees and I will take some, at least 5,000 rupees. And we will show 1,50,000 rupees." DOCTORED MOVES India accounts for at least six cases of medical insurance fraud every month Scams often promoted by touts operating from commercial centres like Delhi’s Connaught Place FALSE DEATH CERTIFICATES TOO! The newspaper says there is an even more lucrative scam operated by the owner of a Delhi ambulance service. He charges Rs 60,000 for providing false death certificates. The ambulance service owner is quoted as saying, "It (the certificate) will be original, not a fake one. The certificate is prepared by an officer. A senior doctor will sign it with his own hands. It will all be genuine. These are official, government-approved documents." Link: Original Article

October 15, 2011

1 doc for 1,000 people not before 2028

India will take at least 17 more years before it can reach the World Health Organization's (WHO) recommended norm of one doctor per 1,000 people. The Planning Commission's high-level expert group (HLEG) on universal health coverage (UHC) — headed by Dr K Srinath Reddy — has predicted the availability of one allopathic doctor per 1,000 people by 2028. It has suggested setting up 187 medical colleges in 17 high-focus states during the 12and 13five-year Plan to achieve the target. HLEG estimates that the number of allopathic doctors registered with the Medical Council of India (MCI) has increased since 1974 to 6.12 lakhs in 2011 — a ratio of one doctor for 1,953 people or a density of 0.5 doctors per 1,000 people . The nation has a density of one medical college per 38.41 lakhs. There are 315 medical colleges that are located in 188 of 642 districts. There is only one medical college for a population of 115 lakhs in Bihar, UP (95 lakhs), MP (73 lakhs) and Rajasthan (68 lakhs). Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu each have one medical college for a population of 15 lakhs, 16 lakhs and 19 lakhs, respectively. The HLEG has proposed a phased addition of 187 colleges. It expects that by 2015, under phase A, 59 new medical colleges will admit students in 15 states like Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana , J&K , Jharkhand, MP, Maharashtra , Meghalaya, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, UP and West Bengal. By 2017, 13 of these states will have an additional 70 medical colleges, and by 2022, another 58 institutes will be built in two additional phases (2017-2020 and 2020-2022 ). By 2022, India will have one medical college per 25 lakh population in all states except Bihar, UP and West Bengal. The implementation of HLEG's recommendations will enable the additional availability of 1.2 lakh doctors by 2017, and another 1.9 lakh doctors between 2017 and 2022. "With this rate of growth, it is expected that the HLEG target of one doctor per 1,000 will be achieved by 2028," the report says. It recommends that along with establishment of new medical colleges, the admission capacities of existing colleges in the public sector should also be increased. Partnerships with the private sector should be encouraged, with conditional reservation of 50% of seats for local candidates, fixed admission fees and government reimbursement of fees for local candidates. The World Health Statistics Report (2011) says, the density of doctors in India is six for a population of 10,000. India is ranked 52 among 57 countries facing human resource crunch in healthcare. The nation has the largest number of medical colleges in the world, with an annual churning rate of over 30,000 doctors and 18,000 specialists. The average annual output is 100 graduates per medical college in comparison to 110 in North America and Central Europe (125). China, which has 188 colleges , produces 1,75, 000 doctors annually, with an average of 930 graduates per institute. Link: Original Article

October 13, 2011

MCI issues migration guidelines for medical students

The Medical Council of India has issued guidelines on inter-college mig-ration of MBBS students. Migration of students from one medical college to another would be restricted to five per cent of the sanctioned intake of the college during the year. No migration will be permitted from one college to another located within the same city. Migration of students is permissible only if both the colleges are recognised by the Centre under Section 11(2) of the Indian Medical Council Act 1956 and further subject to the condition that it shall not result in increase in the sanctioned intake capacity. The candidate shall be eligible to apply for migration only after qualifying in the first professional MBBS exams. Migration during clinical course of study shall not be allowed. An applicant candidate shall first obtain a NoC from the college where he/she is studying and the university to which that college is affiliated and also from the college to which the migration is sought and the university it is affiliated to. He/she shall submit the application for migration within a period of one month of passing along with the above cited NoCs to: (a) the director of medical education of the state, if migration is sought within the state or (b) the MCI, if the migration is sought from one college to another outside the state. Link: Original Article

October 11, 2011

Rs75-90 lakh can turn you into a doctor too

The rot is setting into the medical education system. On the one hand, the lure of money is encouraging miscreants to cheat gullible students and parents; while, on the other, the lure of a lucrative profession is seeing undeserving medical students from rich families becoming doctors as they are able to pay huge amounts to agents (or miscreants) for seats in reputed medical institutions. In both cases, it is the miscreants and their supporters, from within college managements, who run all the way to the banks – unless, they are nabbed. And that’s what Central Crime Branch (CCB) police did on Monday while busting two such gangs involved in cheating students and their parents for huge amounts of money. CCB police have arrested eight persons — including a doctor — in connection with the sale of returned seats for medical students. The arrested were cheating the students to get the returned seats across the state and also in other states. The gang extracted letters of seat rejections from students who passed the Common Entrance Test (CET) and COMED-K exams and got seats in the respective college based on their merit for mediocre students. The police said the letters were received just before the seat distribution on promising the merit students huge amounts of money.The letters were taken to the students struggling to get seats, and promised to have those seats allotted to them by charging as high as Rs75 lakh to `90 lakh per seat. Preliminary investigations revealed that some of the institution administrators and brokers are also involved in this business. Police received a tip-off that such a business is being run by a member of administration board of Kempegowda Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS), named A Prasad. A case was registered with Central Police Station. The arrested were taken into police custody after producing in the court. They have been identified as Dr Ibrahim Pasha, 40, a resident of 10th cross, Wilson Garden; Rafath Mallik, 53, a resident of fifth cross, fifth block, HBR layout; Sheik Abdul Farooq alias Farooq, 40, second main, BK Nagar, Yeshwanthpur; Ramachandrasa, 32, a resident of third cross, KR Garden; KZ Vaheem Ahamed alias Faheem, 32, a resident of Gandhinagar, Chickmagalur; Syed Abrahar, 32, a resident of RT Nagar; Istiyaq Ahamed alias Istiyaq Pailwan, 40, a resident of Shivajinagar; and Rajagopala Reddy, 60, a resident of 7th Cross, Koramangala. The police have seized applications filed from the students, marks cards, Comed-K hall tickets, Rs3.72 lakh, Rs7 lakh which they have received through demand drafts, eight mobile phones, and a car. The CCB has said if anyone has been cheated by this gang, they can contact police inspector S Hanumantharaya on 9480801061 or assistant commissioner of police Ajjappa on 9480801029. In another case, the CCB police arrested three persons – Nagaraju, 42, a resident of Yalahanka New Town; Ananda, 45, a resident of KR Puram; and KG Basavaiah, 39, a resident of Malleswaram – for cheating a native of Tamil Nadu, Mahalakshmi, daughter of Channayan, an employee of horticulture department in Tamil Nadu of `18 lakh against a promise of getting her a medical seat in Dr Ambedkar Medical College in Bangalore for the academic year 2011-12. Channayan paid them the advance amount, which included Rs3.25 lakh though demand draft. But the accused later demanded a total payment of Rs42 lakh, saying that the rates for the medical seats had shot up. M Singham, Mahalakshmi's uncle, filed a complaint with Pulakeshinagar police station on September 30. The police have seized a car and Rs16 lakh from the three. Probe revealed that the trio had cheated over a hundred gullible students. The CCB police have said if anyone has been cheated by this gang they can contact Police Inspector SR Tanveer, (9480801425) or assistant commissioner of police SY Hadimuni (9480801030). Blocking rampant Medical seat aspirants take many entrance tests conducted by Medical Council of India (MCI), Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences (RGUHS) and Comed-K. For example, some candidates who have got top ranks in both MCI and Comed-K entrance get contacted by agents. Agents convince the candidates to attend counselling and block the seat. For this they pay about Rs10 lakh to 15 lakh. The agents then go to that particular college for which the seat has been blocked and bring some Non-Karnataka candidates and transfer that blocked seat to them for Rs30 lakh to Rs40 lakh for their "services". The college managements, too, get a share. Cost lures profit The business of starting a medical college is taking new dimensions every year. "A deposit of Rs5 crore has to be paid to the joint account of the Medical Council of India for the college management to get a licence. The college should have 10 acres and an over 200-bed hospital to take in 50 students a year. The intake of students can increase along with the increase in the number of beds in the teaching hospital. If the hospital attached to the medical college has more than 350 beds, the student intake can be 80 and 100 students for 600 beds," said one of the board of directors of a newly-established medical college, on conditions of anonymity. He said the cost involved to start a medical college will be around `350 crore. The "side business" of luring mediocre students by charging them high amount only acts a faster mechanism to keep profits rolling in. "This is purely a business. You invest and get your money back with premium. Most institutions one can find are under some educational trust. No individual starts a college as there will be hurdles like income tax," said one of the trustees of a medical college. What Comed-K says A top official of Comed-K told DNA: "I don't know where the system failed in the case of blocking of seats. But there are agencies like universities, the MCI and Directorate of Medical Education and so on that keep tabs on errant colleges." Link: Original Article

October 09, 2011

Overseas doctors to undergo language test for UK

Foreign doctors coming to Britain seeking employment will now have to undertake a mandatory English test before being allowed to work in the Nation Health Service (NHS). The General Medical Council is to get new powers to take action over concerns about a doctor's ability to speak English, the Daily Express reported. Health Secretary Andrew Lansley will use his keynote conference speech to unveil the measures Tuesday. The step follows widespread concern that many patients are struggling to make themselves understood by foreign-born doctors in hospitals, clinics and General Practitioners' surgeries. Lansley will announce mandatory language tests at a local level for doctors recruited to the NHS in England from overseas. All doctors will have to prove they can speak a good level of English before they are allowed to work in England. The proposals will ensure patients are treated by doctors who they understand and who understand them. NHS rules will be amended so health chiefs responsible for ensuring medical staff are trained and qualified have a duty to check English language skills. On Monday night, Lansley said: "There is considerable anxiety among the public about the ability of doctors to speak English properly. "After 13 years of inaction from Labour to tighten up language controls, we will amend the legislation to prevent all foreign doctors with a poor grasp of English from working in England. "If you can't speak adequate English, you can't treat patients." Link: Original Article

October 08, 2011

Aarogyasri lays thrust on govt hospitals

The Aarogyasri Health Care Trust, set up by the Andhra Pradesh government four years ago to facilitate implementation of health insurance to the poor, is planning to focus more on government hospitals over private hospitals. The trust has already de-listed 97 private hospitals due to lack of infrastructure facilities and for not following the stipulated guidelines. Under the Aarogyasri scheme, the state government allocates Rs 1,400 crore every year, of which 40 per cent is mandated to be spent on government hospitals and the rest on private hospitals. The ratio of allocation of the budget to government and private hospitals was 17:83 last year. It has been increased to 27:73 in the last two-three months. “We are aiming at achieving the target of 40:60 ratio by the end this financial year,” said N Srikanth, chief executive officer of the trust. The Aarogyasri scheme covers 938 therapies for the 80-million population of the state. Around 350 hospitals in the state were registered under the scheme, of which 240 are private. Around 75 per cent of the country’s total population live in small towns and rural areas, whereas more than 80 per cent of medical care facilities are in urban areas. And, 90 per cent people need primary healthcare. Healthcare and administrative costs have gone up in recent years, and it would be difficult to sustain the scheme with the budget, Srikanth said. To address the future issues, the state government has proposals to rope in the Administrative Staff College of India or the Public Health Foundation of India to do the feasible study and come up with a sustainable report to reduce costs. “We are making a questionnaire to mandate the study. We will finalise the organisation in the next 7-8 months,” Srikanth said. Link: Original Article

October 07, 2011

Supreme Court directs pvt hospitals to treat poor free

The Supreme Court on Thursday asked all private hospitals in Delhi to earmark 25% of their out-patient department capacity and 10% in-patient department capacity for free treatment of poor and directed the Delhi government to discuss with hospitals to evolve a guideline on high-cost health care. When a bench comprising Justices R V Raveedran and A K Patnaik was highly critical of the Delhi government for not holding meaningful discussions with the private hospitals on free treatment of poor patients, Dr R N Das of the directorate of health services stood up and answered each query. He said that of the 40 identified multi-specialty hospitals in Delhi, 27 are extending free treatment to poor as per the Delhi High Court's direction. Three had claimed that they did not get land at concessional rate and hence were not obliged to extend free treatment to poor. Of the remaining 10, three -- Bhagwati Hospital and two Max Super Specialty Hospitals -- have agreed to implement the HC judgment, he said. On a question from the bench, Dr Das said that the nodal agency for poor patients was in constant touch with all hospitals for vacancy in beds and accordingly referring them there. Advocate Ashok Aggarwal said even Sir Gangaram Hospital and Batra Hospital, which were as good as any other super-specialty hospital, were providing treatment to poor patients completely free of cost as per the HC order. After hearing Dr Das and Aggarwal, the bench said: "If 27 hospitals are providing free treatment to poor, then the other 10 cannot claim to fall in a different category." However, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi said that Dharamshila Hospital was specialising in treating cancer patients, which was a costly affair. The bench agreed and asked the Delhi government to examine whether any relaxation could be made for those hospitals which specialise in one branch of treatment and also to lay down guidelines on high-cost treatments. The Delhi government had rejected the proposals from private hospitals seeking dilution of the norm for free treatment of poor which they were obliged to give because of allotment of land at very cheap rates. Though the lease agreement provided for treatment of poor patients up to 25% capacity in both IPD and OPD, the Delhi High Court in March 2007 had reduced the quantum of free treatment to poor patients to 10% IPD and 25% OPD in all respects. Link: Original Article

October 06, 2011

Gujarat to soon have govt medical stores

After the success of its 108 emergency services, the Gujarat government is now proposing setting up medical stores across the state to sell medicines at subsidised rates. Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of Pharmac India 2011, state minister for health and tourism, Jaynarayan Vyas said that the state government would set up medical stores that would sell generic unbranded medicines. Held by the Indian Drug Manufacturers Association (IDMA), Pharmac India 2011 is the second international exhibition of India's prominent pharma and healthcare industry "Government would buy these generic medicines directly from manufacturers under its purchase program. The idea is to offer affordable medicines to consumers across the state," said Vyas. Elaborating on the proposed plan, Vyas said that a generic medicine like paracetamol will be sold in an unbranded version at one-third of its market price. Vyas, however, did not comment on the number of such proposed stores across the state. Similarly, talking about more such plans, Vyas said that the government is also proposing to offer 104 services, on the lines of the 108 emergency services. Under this, the government would hire medical doctors who would be available round-the-clock for offering medical advice on phone for common diseases. Later, speaking at the inaugural ceremony, Maheshwar Sahu, principal secretary, industry and mines, Government of Gujarat invited the pharma industry body IDMA to hold the third edition of Pharmac India at the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors' Summit (VGGIS) in 2013. According to KS Chhabra, secretary, IDMA Gujarat Chapter, about 300 stalls have been set up at the three-day exhibition which is expected to see 20,000 footfalls this year. "When held alongwith VGGIS 2013, we are expecting over 1,000 stalls, given the response this year from participants," said Chhabra. While nationally IDMA has over 750 members, around 180 of these are from Gujarat. Link: Original Article

NABH & BD Collaborate to develop quality standards for hospitals in India

NABH (National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers) and BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to support hospitals in attaining quality-of-care standards for infection control. This collaboration is an effort to strengthen health systems in India and promote continuous quality improvement to ensure quality care for patients when visiting hospitals with effective infection control practices in place. With the wider rollout of community health insurance initiatives, there is an increased demand for bed capacity. Existing small and medium-size hospitals, estimated to account for more than two-thirds of all beds need to strengthen the quality systems and these hospitals can achieve quality-of-care systems by standardizing and adopting necessary infection control practices to ensure patient and healthcare worker safety. Speaking on the occasion of the signing, Dr Giridhar J Gyani, Quality Council of India, Secretary General and CEO, NABH said: “Our objective is to develop a basic infection-control standard for all hospitals delivering healthcare in India. The association with BD will enable us to provide on- and off-site technical support to collaborating institutions for upgrading their infection control practices.” NABH has recommended quality toward safe injection practices, waste management and infusion safety, to name a few, as minimum requirements across hospitals in India, following the lead of several facilities undertaking these processes. Most of these hospitals are high in volume and have the bandwidth as well as the desire to improve clinical outcomes; whereas the quality of care in smaller hospitals, especially which are government empanelled is much more varied in terms of infection control practices. NABH is currently operating in India with nearly 500 hospitals in various phases of accreditation, and nearly 100 hospitals are already accredited. Said Mr Manoj Gopalakrishna, Managing Director, BD - India: “BD has always worked toward achieving our purpose of ‘Helping all people live healthy lives’. The MoU with NABH is an innovative collaboration for enhancing patient safety and healthcare worker safety in India. BD will leverage our global experiences in implementing infection control programs by supporting NABH to enhance infection control standards in the hospitals of India.” This collaboration will have three phases. During Phase One, initial workshops would be carried out across hospitals in India to ensure the SAFE-ISM program is adopted by hospitals as a stepping stone towards achieving quality. This will be followed by the second phase where Centers of Excellence (CoE) and Health Economic models will be developed for the benefit of Indian Healthcare after dissemination of Safe-I program. The last phase will augment national capability of standards dissemination by developing additional CoE (or suggest spelling it out in both instances). SAFE-ISMcertification will be viewed as a precursor for preparing HCO (Healthcare organisations) or SHCO (Small healthcare organisations) for NABH accreditation. Through its experienced field force, BD will guide applicant hospitals toward SAFE-ISM preparation and other relevant training and development workshops. Link: Original Article

July 29, 2011

India, China to work together for improving health services

India and China have decided to work together in improving health care services and deepening of bilateral cooperation in the health sector. Health ministers of the two nations, who met in Dalian in China on the sidelines of the 18th executive committee meeting of Partners in Population Development(PPD) on June 23 and 24, also decided to take forward the agenda of population development and boost south-south cooperation.

PPD, an inter-governmental initiative for expanding and improving South-to-South collaboration in reproductive health, population and development, also adopted its new governance Charter and drafted its strategic business plan for 2012-14.

India, represented by Health Minister Gulam Nabi Azad, has been in the PPD Chair for the last three years and China is its deputy.

The PPD executive committee also undertook the revision of its existing bye-laws to meet the changed requirements and reflect its growing role in population and development dynamics.

The committee also gave shape to a new Governance Charter and Administrative and Financial Manuals for streamlining the functioning of the organisation.

It was felt that the new governance charter and manuals would guide the PPD to take forward its agenda and boost south-south cooperation.

The executive committee also finalised the modalities and schedule for construction of its Secretariat building at Dhaka, Bangladesh, for which land was offered by Bangladesh.

Link: Original Article

July 28, 2011

IIM-A asks AYUSH to follow Chinese medicine example

In a set of recommendations that Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIM-A) has given the ministry of health and family welfare's department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) recently, the latter has been suggested to learn from the Chinese examples. IIM-A recommended AYUSH introduce farming of medicinal herbs and commence mass scientific validation of medicines like the Chinese did.

After IIM-A was recently entrusted with the task of drawing the recommendations by AYUSH, the institute charted the recommendations by hosting a three-tier set of programmes which were attended by top level managers, professors, doctors, researchers and field workers. With suggestions from the participants, the recommendations were put together by the members of faculty of IIM-A including Anil Gupta, Mukul Dixit, Sanjay Verma, Vijaya Sherry Chand and Asha Kaul.

Gupta said, "At the moment 90% of medicinal herbs for manufacturing AYUSH medicines are procured form the forest. It is time the country introduced farming of these medicinal plants like China is doing. With the current practice of depending on the forest with no conservation policies, the future is bleak."

The recommendations also included formation of a 'Medical Plant Corporation of India' and introduce incentives for cultivators of the medicinal plants from the farmers and a buy back policy. Talking about the loopholes in the current scenario Gupta said, "The farmers who cultivate the herbal plants themselves are facing problems while transporting their harvest as they are confused with forest products. This problem should be corrected."

Other suggestions that pointed towards china also included the need of laying keen focus on scientific validation of AYUSH medicines. The recommendation indicated that the Chinese herbal medicines have gained international popularity because of scientific validation and AYUSH also take the process seriously. Gupta said, "At the rate at which the validation of these medicines is going on in this country, which is very slow, it will take more than a century to complete."

Link: Original Article

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