Are they life savers or killers?


Yesterday while watching TV I was shocked by hearing a news, 49 babies died during clinical trials at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi.

The drugs used where zinc tablets for treating zinc deficiency, olmesartan and valsartan for treating blood pressure-related problems, rituximab for treating chronic focal encephalitis and gene-activated human glucocerebrosidase for treating Gaucher’s disease, which affects the liver. And the most important point is that these drugs were meant only for the adults. Why do our doctors do it then? Are they life savers or killers?

India has become the top destination in Asia for clinical trials of foreign drugs. Trials here cost around 20%-60% less than that in industrialized countries. Is this mean that our babies doesn’t have right to live? Were these children made guinea pigs because they were from poor families?

Why do Indians face these problems from the best medical college and public hospital in the country? Do our government doesn’t feel that our babies are the pillars for the developing nation? Do we accept this crime if that has happened to our babies? I urge our younger population to stand with that poor parents and shout against this so that even a single baby in India is lost due to clinical trials. Our babies are precious!!!



A Small Step For A Healthier India


India’s healthcare sector has been growing rapidly and is estimated to be worth US$ 40 billion by 2012, according to Pricewaterhouse Coopers in its report, ‘Healthcare in India: Emerging market report 2007’. The number of patients visiting India for medicare has risen incredibly due to a combination of experienced physicians, lower cost, rising number of super specialty hospitals and world class care provided.

But what do we lack in our health care sector?

Though the prospect for healthcare looks great, I feel that we lack in general awareness. I think the pharmaceutical companies see Indian market as out dated. India has become a dumping ground for banned drugs and also a production unit for banned drugs.

We can see many banned drug in US and UK easily available and prescribed by physicians. Let me quote an example, PHENYLPROPANOLAMINE. I know majority of the people just know the brand name, so I will quote that. (Vicks Action 500 is the brand name of a combination medicine that contains: paracetamol 500 mg + phenylpropanolamine (PPA) 25 mg + caffeine 32 mg per tablet. Paracetamol is a pain-killer while PPA is a decongestant and D,Cold). On 6 November 2000 the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a “Public Health Advisory” statement notifying that it was “taking steps to remove phenylpropanolamine from all drug products and has requested that all drug companies discontinue marketing products containing phenylpropanolamine”. The statement followed advice from the FDA’s Non-prescription Drugs Advisory Committee that there is an association between phenylpropanolamine and haemorrhagic stroke and that phenylpropanolamine was not considered safe. The FDA advised that the risk of haemorrhagic stroke was “very low” but there were significant concerns because of the seriousness of a stroke and the inability to predict who was at risk.

As I am living in India, I know majority of us take this medicine when we have cold and headache. What is worrying is that this drug can be bought off the counter without even a prescription. To add to that the drug is advertised on prime time television without even a mention about the side effects. The medical community is also guilty of prescribing these unsafe medicines. If I quote the medicines that are banned in other countries but are available in India, I will have a long list.

So, I request everyone to check the content of the drug you take and have a general idea about it. Also spread information about the dangerous side effects. Be bold to tell your physician that you had read about the side effects. You might provide the physician with an information that he wasn’t aware of’ thus saving the lives of many others. If not, you would have at least prompted the physician to be careful and not take advantage of a patient’s ignorance. Your questions might change the fate of many others!!


Hey smokers, BE AWARE


If I say hello to smokers, I believe I will be addressing the majority of the people in the world. It is such a common habit nowadays that it has become a part our life. India is home to one of the largest-smoking population – estimated at 120 million.

A couple of weeks back when I was watching certain shows on the TV, an advertisement suddenly hit me. It was not mentioning the brand name, but projecting it as a help for people to quit smoking. It was being advertised by Pfizer. As I know about this drug, since I am working on it, I started thinking about CHAMPIX. CHAMPIX is the latest blockbuster from Pfizer – a billion-dollar-blockbuster drug. Pfizer launched CHAMPIX in India on 26 February 2008. The drug costs about Rs 10,000 (approx.) for a 12-week course.

CHAMPIX was introduced with much salute, and with good reason. I agree with that. A study conducted by scientists from India, Canada and the UK and published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that smoking kills 900,000 people every year in India, and unless corrective action is taken, soon the number will increase to 1 million annually by the year 2010 and beyond. Therefore, our government should do some thing as soon as possible.

On 25 February 2008, a day before the launch of CHAMPIX in India, I had gone through an article from Dow Jones Newswires which said that Pfizer had recently stopped running ads that identified CHAMPIX after the FDA had issued a safety alert about potential neuro-psychiatric side effects of the drug. Pfizer is running an ‘unbranded’ ad campaign about smoking cessation that doesn’t identify CHAMPIX.

Why does our Government entertain the entry of a drug that doesn’t reveal its identity? Are we saving our smokers in this way? The drug is facing a lot of controversy in the US and UK due to its side effects like depression which finally leads to suicide. There are strict warnings in these countries that people taking this medication should be under close monitoring by the doctors to identify the change in behaviour. They are given counseling and care with the drug.

Do our doctors follow the same method? I don’t think so. So smokers ‘BE AWARE’. Try to quit this habit with your willpower and the proper guidance of a physician. And let the whole world shout against the pharmaceutical companies that we are not ‘GUINEA PIGS’.


‘I’ for……


By Deeksh

Reading is a keystone for anyone’s success in life. Without reading skills, opportunities for personal achievement is lost. I think, literacy is a value – value that is more than proficiency.

Reading is the gift of life, which can’t be stolen. Many people around us cannot even read basic instructions on the food packets, which is indigestible when you think of it.

Don’t you think even poor kids are equally having rights to succeed in this world, like any other children?

Is poverty a barrier for such success?
What is the source of illiteracy problem?
Is illiteracy created by the improper education system at schools?
Can improvement in the schools change this current scenario?

I feel there is a core relationship between poverty and illiteracy.

Each individual faces illiteracy based on their rate of living conditions. Most importantly, the company that child is exposed to.

Always, children should be exposed to adults who emphasize good attitudes towards literate activities.

Children reading in the poorest schools can also overcome obstacles and succeed int heir life, if influenced by literate environment.

India is home of rich culture, geography, and off course very rich population.

Like most third-world countries, India is ridden with problems of poverty, high mortality rates, illiteracy and more…..

Although a lot has been achieved in education, a lot more remains..

The target literacy rate set for the 11th five-year plan (2007-2012) is 85%. Do you think it can be achieved?

Does every child get atleast a primary education? What can be done to achieve a higher literacy rate in India? Is poverty a barrier for literacy?

Living in today’s society, is as tough as it sounds, it is clear that homelessness, hunger, unemployment, and illiteracy are direct effects of poverty.

As a result, this is causing people to struggle throughout their lives..

It’s time for some glossary:

‘I’ for India…


and for..