Capping the price of anti-cancer drugs is a welcome move

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine, Social Health Community Comments Off

There is also a need to bring about initiatives that can help in the early diagnosis of cancer

New Delhi, 28th February 2019: The government has brought 42 non-scheduled anti-cancer drugs under price control, capping trade margin at 30%. This would reduce their retail prices by up to 85%. The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has invoked extraordinary powers in public interest, under Para 19 of the Drugs (Prices Control) Order, 2013 to bring 42 non-scheduled anti-cancer drugs under price control through trade margin rationalization.

As per data available with NPPA, the MRP for 105 brands will be reduced up to 85% entailing minimum saving of ₹105 crore to consumers. Currently, 57 anti-cancer drugs are under price control as scheduled formulations. Now 42 non-scheduled anti-cancer medicines have been selected for price regulation by restricting trade margin on the selling price (MRP) up to 30%.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “The price control on anti-cancer drugs is a welcome move as it will bring benefits to the many who cannot afford them currently. Although cancer has become an epidemic with a steep rise in its incidence, the irony is that the medicines are very expensive and beyond the reach of a common man. Thus, this price control is very necessary to provide people with affordable cancer medicines. The government should also take adequate steps to ensure early diagnosis of cancer because it is a proven fact that early diagnosis can save many lives.”

The NPPA currently fixes prices of drugs placed in the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) under Schedule-I of the DPCO. So far, around 1000 drugs have been brought under price control under the initiative.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “The prevalence of cancer in our country is not uniform all over. There is a difference in the types of cancer that affect people basis rural and urban settings. We have seen that in rural women, cervical cancer is the most widespread while in urban women, breast cancer is the most rampant. In case of men, rural people are majorly affected by cancers of the oral cavity while rural men are greatly inflicted by cancer of the lung.”

Some harm reduction measures to prevent cancer

  • Pay attention to symptoms and get yourself checked regularly.
  • Using any type of tobacco puts a person at an increased risk of cancer. Avoiding or stopping the consumption of tobacco is one of the foremost steps in cancer prevention.
  • Filter tap water properly as this can reduce your exposure to possible carcinogens and hormone-disrupting chemicals.
  • Get vaccinated on time and as per schedule. For example, the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine helps prevent most cervical cancers and several other kinds of cancer.
  • Drinking plenty of water and other liquids can help in reducing the risk of bladder cancer by diluting the concentration of cancer-causing agents in urine and helping to flush them through the bladder faster.
  • Most importantly, make lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise. Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants which can help ward off diseases.

Acupuncture to be now an independent system of healthcare

Health Care Comments Off

As per an office order dated 21st Feb, 2019 by Department of Health Research (No.U-11018/03/2018-HR/e-office: 3164145) on the subject “Recognition of Acupuncture as a system of Healthcare/Therapy”, an Inter-Departmental Committee (IDC) was constituted on 20.10.2016, to examine the proposals received for recognition of acupuncture as a system of medicine.  Acupuncture was accepted as a mode of therapy vide Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Order No. R.14015/25/96-U&H(R)(Pt), dated 25.11.2003.

The Committee, which held its meetings on 04.10.2017 and 09.01.2018, submitted its report on 11.06.2018, which included the following two recommendations, among others.

  1. Acupuncture system, which is already recognised to be practiced as a mode of therapy, can be accepted as an independent system of healthcare for the indications for which there is evidence and expertise exists for teaching, training and certification.
  1. Expert committees may be constituted for this purpose which needs to include experts who are academically active in acupuncture – this can be determined from publications on the subject in reputed data bases like PubMed and not restricting to names suggested by the applicant associations. Experts from Allopathy and other systems also need to be members of such committees for drawing the boundaries for evidence-based practices, for ensuring complementarily and best interests of patients.

Based on the IDC’s report, the Government constituted an Apex Committee on Acupuncture for the purpose of promotion and regulation of Acupuncture as a system of Healthcare / Therapy: Dr VM Katoch, former Secretary, DHR and DG, ICMR (Chairman); Dr Raman Kapur, Chairman, National Coordination Committee (Acupuncture Expert), New Delhi (Vice-Chairman); Secretary (Health), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (or nominee), New Delhi (Member); Dr Vinay Goyal, Deptt. of Neurology, AIIIMS, New Delhi (Member); Dr A Mooventhan, Sr Medical Officer (Yoga), Centre for Integrative Medicine and Research, AIIMS, New Delhi (Member)Dr S Banerjee, Deptt. of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra, Ranchi (Member)Dr JD Pandian, Professor of Neurology, CMC, Ludhiana (Member)Representative from ICMR, New Delhi (Member) and Joint Secretary, DHR (Convenor).

The Committee may, depending on requirements, co-opt member / expert from the relevant field.

The terms of reference for the Apex committee on Acupuncture will be as under:

  1. To frame detailed guidelines for promotion and regulation of Acupuncture as a system of Healthcare / Therapy.
  2. To suggest steps for implementation of the guidelines so framed as well as for reimbursement for Acupuncture.

iii.  To suggest appropriate authority/Department for implementation of the guidelines.

  1. To submit its final report to the Government within a period of three months from the date of the first meeting of the committee.

Dr KK Aggarwal

Padma Shri Awardee

President Elect Confederation of Medical Associations in Asia and Oceania   (CMAAO)

Group Editor-in-Chief IJCP Publications

President Heart Care Foundation of India

Past National President IMA

Lack of sleep can lead to heart problems over time

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine Comments Off

Making changes to one’s lifestyle to prevent diseases amounts to harm reduction

New Delhi, 27 February 2019: Getting enough sleep can help protect against cardiovascular disease by preventing the build-up of plaques in the arteries, as per a study. The research describes the mechanism by which insufficient sleep increases production of inflammatory white blood cells, which are known to be major contributors to atherosclerosis. It also found that a hormone in the brain known to control wakefulness controls processes in the bone marrow and protects against cardiovascular disease.

One of every five patients in India suffers from sleeping disorder, as per a study and about 20.3% patients visiting doctors for such issues ask for sleeping pills. Many patients suffer from sleep disturbances, the reasons for which include hectic schedule, night shifts, and high stress levels. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) seems to be one of the most common sleep disorders.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Majority of the Indian population remains unaware of the fact that common ailments such as obesity, depression, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease are all linked to an irregular sleep pattern. Sleep deprivation also is a key influencer of stressed relationships, decreased performance at school and work, accidental injuries, memory and cognitive impairment and a poor quality of life. It is thus essential that awareness be raised about good sleep habits and the importance of getting adequate sleep on a daily basis. The present generation is mostly found sleeping only for 3-5 hours in a day and then compensating their sleep requirements by sleeping for 14 hours on the weekends. This is extremely dangerous for their overall health. They also depend on caffeine and energy drinks to stay awake, which impact their overall cognitive ability.”

Signs and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include excessive daytime sleepiness, loud snoring, observed episodes of breathing cessation during sleep, waking up abruptly, waking up with dry or sore throat, morning headache, difficulty concentrating, mood changes, high blood pressure, nighttime sweating, and decreased libido.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “The time has come for each one of us to be cautious about the impact our day to day actions have on our health and take necessary preventive measures. Sleeping well and on time is a harm reduction methodology as it can help avoid many diseases and health complications over time.”

Some tips from HCFI

  • Try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day — at the very least, on weekdays. If need be, use weekends to make up for lost sleep.
  • Create a sleep sanctuary. Reserve your bedroom for sleep and intimacy.
  • Banish the television, computer, smartphone or tablet, and other diversions you’re your bedroom
  • Taking a nap at the peak of sleepiness in the afternoon can help to supplement hours missed at night. But naps can also interfere with your ability to sleep at night and throw your sleep schedule into disarray.
  • If you need to nap, limit it to 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Avoid caffeine after noon and go light on alcohol. Caffeine can stay in your body for up to 12 hours. Alcohol can act as a sedative, but it also disturbs sleep.
  • Get regular exercise, but not within three hours of bedtime. Exercise acts as a short-term stimulant.

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