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Medical Voice 10th September 2019
Dr KK Aggarwal,  10 September 2019
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Government sanctions cannabis research for industrial and horticulture purposes

The narcotics department within the revenue wing of the Union finance ministry has sanctioned a research and development (R&D) project on cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) - two unique natural compounds found in cannabis. Now, cannabis, commonly known as ganja, will be grown at Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CIMAP) in Lucknow (UP) and Pantnagar (Uttarakhand), as reported in Times of India.

"CSIR-CIMAP wants to start R&D work on genetic improvement of identification and selection of THC, CBD and cannabinioderpene - a rich strain-level genotype of cannabis - at their office in Lucknow, UP, with its resource centre in Pantnagar, Uttarakhand. CSIR has, therefore, requested to allow them to collect cannabis germplasm and grow it in their fields," the Centres note said. The note also said that Indias NDPS policy emphasised development of drug varieties with low THC content, which could be exploited for industrial and horticulture purposes. "That is source of biomass and fibre, and for production of cannabis seed oil," it said.

In its note, which has been sent to all state governments, director (narcotics control) in the finance ministry has cited a WHO expert committee report on drug dependence. WHO has taken cognisance of medicinal use of low THC cannabis and has proposed change in scope of control of cannabis-related substances in the international conventions.

Healthcare News Monitor

Indias life expectancy improves marginally

ET Bureau - Rahul Tripathi

New Delhi: India has seen an improvement in overall life expectancy at birth to 69 years, with women expected to live for 70.4 years and men for 67.8 years, according to the latest Sample Registration Survey (SRS) for 2013-17. The overall life expectancy grew from 68.7 years in 2012-16, when life expectancy for women was 70.2 years and that for men was 67.4 years. Life expectancy for women was 73.70 years in urban centres and 69 in rural areas while the comparative figures for men were 71.20 years and 66.40 years, respectively, as per the SRS report released by the Registrar General of India. “There is a difference of about 2.6 years in female-male life expectancy at birth at the national level, with the highest difference been recorded at about 6.2 years for Uttarakhand,” says the SRS report for 2013-17. Officials said the increase in life expectancy was driven mainly by improvements in sanitation, housing and education which led to a steady decline in mortality. This may also explain the marginal improvement in the difference in life expectancy between urban and rural India, which decreased to 4.7 years in 2013-17 from 4.8 years in 2010-14, as per the report. Women continued to enjoy a higher life expectancy than men because they stand to benefit more from the advances in healthcare and living conditions, besides making fewer lifestyle choices that are bad for health, said officials. India’s life expectancy in 2013-17 was, however, lower than the global life expectancy of 72.6 years this year, according to the United Nations’ ‘World Population Prospects’ report published in June.

Pharma, Bio-Pharma manufacturing units to follow Apprentices Act: CDSCO issues advisory

Business Medical Dialogues

Through a recent advisory, the apex drug regulatory body- Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) has directed all pharmaceutical Industry associations to ask their members having the Pharmaceuticals and Bio-Pharmaceutical manufacturing units to follow the Apprentices Act, 1961. Under Section 8 of the Apprentices Act, 1961, there are provisions for number of apprentices for a designated trade and optional trade wherein it is mentioned that the Central Government shall prescribe the number of apprentices to be engaged by the employer for designated trade and optional trade and several employers may join together either themselves or through an agency, approved by the Apprenticeship Adviser, according to the guidelines issued from time to time by the Central Government in this behalf, for the purpose of providing apprenticeship training to the apprentices under them. Rule 7A of the Apprenticeship Rules, 1992 provides the provisions for regulation of optional trade (other than designated trade under the Apprentices Act 1961) and Rule 7B of the said rules provides the provisions for number of apprentices for designated and optional trade wherein it is mentioned that each establishment shall engage apprentices in a band of 2.5 per cent to 10 per cent total strength of the establishment including contractual staffs. National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS) is a new scheme of Government of India launched on 19th August 2016 to promote apprenticeship. The main objective of the scheme is to promote apprenticeship training and to increase the engagement of apprentices.

PDMA seeks PM’s intervention to clean up CDSCO from corrupt officials

Pharmabiz India- Peethaambaran Kunnathoor

A memorandum uploaded on the Public Grievances Redressal Portal (PG portal) of the union government by the Punjab Drugs Manufacturers Association (PDMA) seeks Prime Minister’s intervention to exempt drug manufacturing industry from the clutches of certain corrupt CDSCO officials. The powers granted to the central drug inspectors for industry visit for issuing manufacturing licences are utilized for extorting money from the manufacturers, the association alleges. PDMA wanted the Prime Minister to take steps to de-notify the GSR 1337 (E) and GSR 923 (E) notifications which amended provisions of D&C Rules to mandate joint inspections by central and state regulatory officials before issuing manufacturing licenses to the industry. The memorandum was signed by 26 members of the PDMA and addressed to the Prime Minister. A letter attached to the memorandum clarifies that the association was forced to approach the PMO because of ceaseless corrupt activities by the officials in the national drug regulator’s office (CSDCO). A copy of the letter was shared with Pharmabiz. Sharing details, the president of PDMA, Jagdeep Singh alleged that the amendment via notification of 1337 (E) was done at the behest of some CDSCO officials to enable them for extortion of money from manufacturers. Their corruption practices remain unchecked throughout the country because the manufacturers and other industry stakeholders are unable to approach the central ministers and the bureaucrats. Whereas, in the state levels, they can easily approach the ministers and the government secretaries and express their grievances. To an extent, this deters the state regulators from doing corrupt activities for extorting money from the manufacturing companies. He said the D&C Act gives powers to the drug inspectors to extort money. Corruption in the CDSCO will continue until systemic changes in laws are introduced. The only choice left with a manufacturer at present is either give bribe or close down his unit.

Union govt sees its SUGAM National Drugs Licensing System to bolster e-governance initiatives

Pharmabiz India - Nandita Vijay

Union government sees its SUGAM National Drugs Licensing System to further strengthen the e-governance initiatives. The National Database of Manufacturers & Formulators along with the generation of unique ID for production sites will enable a smooth transition to the e-system. It will allow both operations agility and efficiency. The data captured from the manufacturers provides a hands-on information of the pharmaceutical production and marketing activity in the country, said Shivani Nangia, project manager, e governance, Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC). From details of user registration, manufacturing site, formulations, production and production capacity of site will now empower the government with an effective real time platform, she added. In a presentation titled SUGAM and National Drug Licensing System, at a workshop for providing training to pharma manufacturers on drug approval under the recent amendments to the Drugs & Cosmetics Rules in Bengaluru, she said that registration on SUGAM portal for adding manufacturing unit and formulation details allows ease of application submission for licensing, tracking its status, grant of permission and related approvals. Further, it creates live statistics of the registered pharma companies, number of submitted applications, processed applications and inspections conducted.

For the first time, Karnataka village gets full-time doctor at PHC

ET Healthworld

MADIKERI: Deprived of proper healthcare attention, the residents of Karike are relieved that their perseverance has yielded the desired result. The primary health centre (PHC) in the village, situated close to the Kodagu-Kerala border, now has a full-time doctor. This PHC was set up four years ago, but had since been operating without a full-time doctor. Numerous appointments were made, but not even a single doctor was willing to work here. Constant demand by the villagers and efforts by elected representatives and the deputy commissioner could only result in the appointment of contractual doctors who would visit the village once a week. The recent appointment of Dr Pundaleek Lalappa Lamani at Karike happened by chance. Dr Pundaleek was posted as CMO at the district hospital in Kanhangad, Kerala, when a boy from Karike was brought to him. “A boy was brought to Kanhangad by his father Balaram. The boy was diagnosed with dengue. During my interaction with the patient, I learnt that they had travelled 70km from their village to get the check-up done. And I was told by Balaram that there were no doctors at the healthcare centre in their village,” said Dr Pundaleek, who sees 30-40 patients in a week. Meanwhile, Balaram, who is also a panchayat member in Karike, asked Dr Pundaleek if he could visit Karike and treat patients there. “I am a native of Bagalkot and completed my studies, including MBBS in Karnataka. I looked forward to serving in the villages of Karnataka and could not miss the opportunity,” said Dr Pundaleek.

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