Union Budget 2015-16: Mixed reactions from healthcare and pharma industry

There are mixed reactions to the budget Union Budget 2015-16 presented by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Reacting to him,Dr. Ajay Bakshi, CEO & MD of Manipal Health Enterprise pointed out that some good initiatives were announced in the budget across capacity and infrastructure building.

He said: ‘We welcome the government’s move of increasing health insurance cover, this will enable people to seek out for quality healthcare which is a huge concern in our country. The announcement of opening up of AIIMS in 5 new states will begin to address the huge shortage of doctors and skilled staff. However the allocation of Rs 33,150 crore towards the healthcare sector comes as a disappointment as the government has not kept up with its promise of increasing expenditure on public health.’ (Read: Union Budget 2015-2016: How this year’s budget can change health care)

Mr. Shashank ND, Founder & CEO, Practo added ‘Prevention is better than cure and we applaud the finance minister’s efforts to focus on preventive healthcare for our citizens by targeting 6 crore toilets under the Swacch Bharat campaign. This will have a huge impact on making our nation healthier. We’re also happy with  government’s increased focus and recognition towards the Indian Start up industry. Over the last few years, the Indian Start up industry has witnessed tremendous success in providing innovative services to the nation, along with generating substantial employment opportunities . The financial allocation of Rs 1000 crore under the SETU – Self Employment & Talent Utilization program will drastically help boost the start-up ecosystem in India. The additional focus towards the strengthening of the IT infrastructure, the backbone of the Indian start up industry will accelerate the industry growth. As a young company at the intersection of health and technology we’re very pleased with the government’s focus on both these sectors and look forward to working with various stakeholders to improve healthcare access for a Digital India.’

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Govt may set up new Ministry for pharma sector

The Union government may establish a separate Ministry for the pharmaceuticals sector, which would comprise all departments that deal with issues related to the industry.

“For the benefit of end user, the customer and considering the size of industry… there should be a separate Pharma Ministry.

“Therefore, I, along with Minister of State Hansraj Ahir, will approach Prime Minister and request him to look into this matter,” Fertiliser Minister Ananth Kumar said on Thursday.

At present, Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) and Drug Controller General of India (DGCI), which deal in regulatory control over the import of drugs, approval of new drugs and clinical trials, are governed by Health Ministry.

Whereas, National Pharma Pricing Authority (NPPA), which sets the price limit on essential medicines, comes under Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers.

“There is a view that this new Pharma Ministry makes sense if (CDSCO), Drug Controller General of India (DGCI) and National Pharma Pricing Authority (NPPA) could (be) brought together under one Ministry,” a source said.

The source added that the government is also considering to set up a separate body or department for medical devices which, if established, can also be brought under this Ministry.

The Minister said that the separate Ministry should work as both facilitator as well as regulator for the sector.

“As Prime Minister Narendra Modi created separate Ministry for skill development and Ayush, on the same lines we will request him for separate Pharma Ministry,” Kumar added.

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Indian companies not singled out for inspections, says USFDA

NEW DELHI: With many major Indian drug makers coming under more intense scrutiny from it, the USFDA today said it hasn’t singled out domestic manufacturers and the increased number of inspections here is a reflection of increasing size of the country’s pharmaceutical industry.

The US health regulator said it is looking to increase training and joint inspections in various areas, including manufacturing while also discussing possibility of information sharing with Indian officials.

It is also working on a global policy that would reward firms which strive for higher quality of drugs, while those which do not adhere to the good manufacturing norms would face enforcement actions.

“We inspect lots of firms in the US too. Drugs cannot be sold in the US without the inspections. The increase in number of inspections here (in India) is reflection of increasing size of the Indian pharmaceutical industry,” USFDA Deputy Commissioner for Global Regulatory Operations and Policy Howard Sklamberg told.

He was responding to a query on whether Indian companies have been singled out for action by the USFDA considering major firms, including Sun Pharmaceuticals, RanbaxyBSE 0.55 %, Wockhardt and Dr Reddy’s have faced action from it.

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Pharma shares gain; BSE Healthcare index up nearly 200 points

Shares of pharmaceutical companies are trading higher in otherwise weak market after the finance minister announced measures for improving the quality of life and public health.

The government allocated Rs 33,152 crore to the health sector, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in his budget speech.

The tax exemption limit for health insurance was increased from Rs 15,000 to Rs 25,000. “This move is meant to encourage people to take health insurance,” Jaitley said.

Sun Pharma Advanced Research Company (SPARC), Aurobindo Pharma, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Ranbaxy Laboratories and Dr Reddy’s Laboratories are up 2-7%, while Torrent Pharma, Divi’s Laboratories and Glenmark Pharma up 1% each on BSE.

At 1448 hours, S&P BSE Healthcare index rallied 1.3% or 200 points compared with a marginal 0.03% fall in the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex.

“Like most other sectors, the Pharma sector also had high expectations, more so from the perspective of Make in India campaign where the Pharma sector has been a shining example of India’s growing dominance,” said Utkarsh Palnitkar, Head of Advisory and national leader of Pharma sector, KPMG in India.

Union Budget 2015: Overall positive for health care, but offers no direct benefits to pharma

The Union Budget by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is being lauded for moving forward on Make-in-India by correcting the inverted duty structure. But this policy poses a huge challenge for the Indian pharmaceutical industry, which is dependent on cheap raw material imports from China.

“Correcting the inverted duty structure is a move in the right direction but its impact on the pharmaceutical industry will have to be seen,” says D.G. Shah, Secretary General of the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA), which has major Indian pharmaceutical companies as its members. “The government has also been wanting to encourage manufacturing of raw material – basic drug ingredients – in India under its API (active pharmaceutical ingredients) initiative but if raw material import duty goes down to that extent it will be a challenge to manufacture those raw materials in the domestic market.”

India, Sri Lanka to expand cooperation in healthcare sector

Both India and Sri Lanka have decided to expand cooperation in medical and healthcare sector. To this effect, J P Nadda, Union health and family welfare minister, government of India met with Rajitha Senaratne, minister of health and indigenous medicine, government of Sri Lanka and discussed various issues related to increasing cooperation between the two countries in the healthcare sector.

As part of this, Union health minister focussed on India’s strengths in generic and traditional medicines and highlighted the need for increased cooperation between the two countries to contain the spread of evolving deadly viral diseases like Ebola and Swine flu.

In fact, cooperation in healthcare and pharmaceutical sector between India and Sri Lanka was started during the year 2012. During that time India had offered to set up a pharma hub in Sri Lanka, as part of its bilateral relationship with the island nation.  Both Sri Lanka and India had jointly appointed a high level bilateral task force to implement the Indian proposals in order to increase bilateral trade from $5 billion to $10 billion by the end of 2015.

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Get rid of mosquitoes, get a blanket

Bubblegum-0799439133945Although Swine Flu may have taken over Dengue in recent times, the fact is that the mosquitoes won’t GO! And neither do the malaria, chukingunya and dengue cases in our neighbourhood.  Despite the plug-ins and the coils running all night, there is still a couple of mosquitoes in our bedrooms buzzing around our ears.

So here is what we recently discovered through an article in HR Brunch: a mosquito repellent blanket! No smoke, no odour, no creams, no side effects… and yet, no mosquitoes. Just a soft, warm mosquito repellent blanket. A product of Nidra Home, Mos-Quit-O claims itself to be a revolutionary and unique mosquito repellent product, an odourless, DEET-free blanket with zero side effects.

How it works 

The brainchild of Kasturi Poddar, director of Nidra Home,  the Mos-Quit-O blanket fabric is embedded with a special formulation, Permethrin, a chemical compound which when inhaled by the mosquito affects his nervous system and repels it and significantly reduces biting activity of the pesky insects. Permethrin has been known to be used as a treatment on American army uniforms for decades to repel insects on the battlefields.  Kasturi’s research and trials have been able to safely adapt this technique for domestic use. Mos-Quit-O is patent pending.

According to the World Health Organisation standards, Mos-Quit-O blanket has been deemed 100 percent effective as a repellent even after 50 washes and free of side effects, suitable for even newborns and infants.

Use it like any blanket

You use Mos-Quit-O like any normal blanket; it is designed for Indian summers. If too cold, you can drape it over your usual warm blanket. What do you do when you need to wash? Simple. Just throw it in the washing machine or in the bucket. Wash it like everything else. According to tests by WHO, it is 100% effective upto 50 washes. So if you wash it once a month, Mos-Quit-O proves effective for more than four years.

More power than plug-ins and coils

Over regular usage, one finds that most mosquito repellents have their drawbacks. Plug-ins and coils come with their side-effects, patches and wristbands are effective for a very short time span while insect repellent creams are a sheer inconvenience. Mos-Quit-O, on the other hand, is not only 100 percent effective, with zero side effects but also extremely convenient to use and handy for travel for camp sites and trekking in places where plug-points are unavailable.

Mos-Quit-O is available for Rs 1999/- with a kiddie version for Rs 999/-. www.mos-quit-o.com also has spot discounts.

Swine Flu Toll Reaches 81 in Gujarat

AHMEDABAD: With 10 more persons succumbing to swine flu in Gujarat on Sunday, the toll in the state since January has reached 81, officials said.

“Ten persons died due to swine flu in Gujarat today. Two deaths each were reported in Kutch, Ahmedabad and Surat districts, while one fatality each was recorded in Vadodara, Dahod, Narmada and Surendranagar districts,” an official statement issued on Sunday said.

As per official figures, the state recorded the highest number cases today with registration of 117 new swine flu positive cases, while total number of cases has reached upto 744 since last month.

Ahmedabad district on Sunday witnessed the highest number of cases registered in a day with 46 new positive cases. Two deaths were also reported taking the death toll to 15 and total cases to 151.

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GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Q3 net profit up 21%

New Delhi: GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Ltd, the maker of Horlicks and Boost health drinks, reported a 21% jump in net profit to Rs.96.4 crore for the December quarter, from Rs.79.75 crore posted in the year-ago period. Net sales for the New Delhi-based company grew by 16% to Rs.975 crore from Rs.839.11 crore in the same quarter last year, the company said in a filing to the BSE on Wednesday. Profit before tax stood at Rs.147 crore, up 21%.

“Despite the category slowdown, we are delighted to show the strongest growth in the FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) sector in the quarter,” said Zubair Ahmed, managing director at the local arm of the British multinational. “Science, innovation, strong distribution and consumer insight based communication remain our growth levers.” The company bolstered its advertising and prom

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Eat Healthy to Sleep Better

People who eat a large variety of food have the healthiest sleep pattern, say American scientists.

Now, a new study from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania shows for the first time that certain nutrients may play an underlying role in short and long sleep duration.

“Overall, people who sleep seven to eight hours each night differ in terms of their diet, compared to people who sleep less or more. We also found that short and long sleep are associated with lower food variety,” said Dr. Grandner of the research team, Science Daily reported.

According to the study published in the online journal Appetite (ahead-of-print) the team found that very short sleep was associated with less intake of tap water, lycopene (found in red-and orange-coloured foods), and total carbohydrates whereas short sleep was associated with less vitamin C, tap water, selenium (found in nuts, meat and shellfish), and more lutein/zeaxanthin (found in green, leafy vegetables).


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