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SC issues notice to central government on blocking websites selling prohibited drugs

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the central government on a plea by NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan seeking a clamp down on websites selling and delivering prohibited drugs which were being used by children on a large scale.

Photo Credit: http://www.bba.org.in
Photo Credit: http://www.bba.org.in

The social justice bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit issued notice after senior counsel H. S. Phoolka appearing for the NGO told the court that a survey has revealed that about two crore children are using these drugs, tobacco, and other narcotic products.

Describing the situation as “alarming”, Phoolka said that these drugs were being “openly used in the schools.”

As he handed over a paper to the bench carrying the names of the drugs sold on websites, the court said that these are old ones and now many new drugs have come and are circulating in the market.

Meanwhile, in the missing children matter, the social justice bench on Friday warned that it would take a stern view and initiate contempt proceedings against the officials if it was provided with “misleading” information.

The court said this as it let-off Navin Yadav, an under secretary in the women and child development ministry, summoned to the court for allegedly giving figures in an affidavit that were at variance with what the minister had told parliament in response to an question.

The court forgave the official after being satisfied that the error in furnishing figures to the court was “bonafide” and also waived the Rs. 25,000 fine that it had imposed on the ministry in the last hearing of the matter on July 31.

The court on July 31 had taken a strong exception to huge discrepancy in the figures of the number of missing children as told to it and those placed before the parliament and had said that such a situation would not be “tolerated”.

“Ideas can change but numbers can’t change,” the court had said observing that somebody was misleading it.

The court had directed the personal presence of Navin Yadav in the last hearing after Bachpan Bachao Andolan had told the court that the minister had told the Rajya Sabha that 79,721 children had gone missing during 2013-2015 whereas the ministry’s affidavit before the court was putting the figures at 25,834.

(IANS)

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Low Quality Drugs, Medicine Costs More Than Just Money

Even in high-income countries, purchasing cheaper medicines from illegitimate sources online could result in obtaining substandard or falsified medicines.

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Medicines
A seized counterfeit hydrocodone tablets in the investigation of a rash of fentanyl overdoses in northern California is shown in this Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). VOA

About one in eight essential medicines in low- and middle-income countries may be fake or contain dangerous mixes of ingredients that put patients’ lives at risk, a research review suggests.

Researchers examined data from more 350 previous studies that tested more 400,000 drug samples in low- and middle-income countries. Overall, roughly 14 percent of medicines were counterfeit, expired or otherwise low quality and unlikely to be as safe or effective as patients might expect.

“Low-quality medicines can have no or little active pharmaceutical ingredient [and] can prolong illness, lead to treatment failure and contribute to drug resistance,” said lead study author Sachiko Ozawa of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“Or it may have a too much active ingredient and cause a drug overdose,” Ozawa said by email. “If it is contaminated or has other active ingredients, then the medication could cause poisoning, adverse drug interactions or avertable deaths.”

Much of the research to date on counterfeit or otherwise unsafe medicines has focused on Africa, and about half of the studies in the current analysis were done there.

 

medicines
One in five medications tested in Africa were fake. Pixabay

 

Almost one in five medications tested in Africa were fake or otherwise potentially unsafe, researchers report in JAMA Network Open.

 

Another third of the studies were done in Asia, where about 14 percent of medicines tested were found to be counterfeit or otherwise unsafe.

Antibiotics and antimalarials were the most tested drugs in the analysis. Overall, about 19 percent of antimalarials and 12 percent of antibiotics were falsified or otherwise unsafe.

While fake or improperly made medicines undoubtedly harm patients, the current analysis couldn’t tell how many people suffered serious side effects or died as a result of falsified drugs.

Researchers did try to assess the economic impact of counterfeit or improperly made medicines and found the annual cost might run anywhere from $10 billion to $200 billion.

While the study didn’t examine high-income countries, drug quality concerns are by no means limited to less affluent nations, Ozawa said.

Medicines
Different vaccines. Pixabay

“Even in high-income countries, purchasing cheaper medicines from illegitimate sources online could result in obtaining substandard or falsified medicines,” Ozawa said. “Verify the source before you buy medications, and make policymakers aware of the problem so they can work to improve the global supply chain of medicines.”

The study wasn’t a controlled experiment designed to prove whether or how counterfeit or poorly made medicines directly harm patients, however. And the economic impact was difficult to assess from smaller studies that often didn’t include a detailed methodology for calculating the financial toll.

Also Read: Eating in 10-hour Window May Boost Health

The report “provides important validation of what is largely already known,” Tim Mackey of the Global Health Policy Institute in La Jolla, California, writes in an accompanying editorial.

“It is important to note that although the study is comprehensive, its narrow scope means it only provides a snapshot of the entire problem, as it is limited to studies conducted in low- and middle-income countries and to those
medicines classified as essential by the World Health Organization.” (VOA)