Thursday, May 26, 2016

Maharashtra Mantralaya’s 150 computers attacked by Locky virus

The 150 computers will be subjected to forensic tests. 
At least 150 computers of Mantralaya, headquarters of the Maharashtra government, were attacked by a malicious software known as Locky ransomware, which blocks access to computers. Officials said the attack targeted files from the revenue and public works departments but the damage was contained before it could spread. The government building uses over 5,300 computers. The government has now directed its employees to only use their official ID and not use private e-mail IDs such as Gmail or Yahoo. It has also decided to provide an advisory to employees to exercise caution while using pendrives and CDs procured without authenticating sources.
According to Principal Secretary, Information Technology, Vijay Kumar Gautam, “Whether it is the Government of India or Maharashtra government, there is a rule to operate on official ID. Why should the employees use private ID, while conducting the government work?”
Maintaining that all central data of the entire government across departments was safe, he said, “The quick action taken by the IT department to detect the problems helped to save other systems from the virus attack.” However, the 150 computers will be subjected to forensic tests.
Gautam believes, “The Locky attack could be a case of mistaken identity. What could the hackers get from the state government?”
- See more at:

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

US drug giant will no longer supply lethal injection drugs

Pfizer has moved to stop its drugs being used for executions by imposing strict distribution controls that will stop them reaching execution chambers across the US. This means that all US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved manufacturers of potential execution drugs have blocked their sale and use for the death penalty in the US.
In a statement, Pfizer says it ‘makes its products to enhance and save the lives of patients’ and ‘strongly objects to the use of its products as lethal injections for capital punishment’. It will now introduce a new monitoring system to ensure that its drugs do not end up being used in executions. Pfizer will enforce distribution restrictions on pancuronium bromide, potassium chloride, propofol, midazolam, hydromorphone, rocuronium bromide and vecuronium bromide, selling them only to ‘select’ purchasers under the condition that they will not resell them for use in lethal injections. Government purchasing entities must certify that products are not for any penal purposes.
The human rights organisation Reprieve hailed the move as a critical turning point in the history of capital punishment in the US, reflecting widespread unease about the use of lethal injection, and raising fundamental questions about the administration of the death penalty. ‘Pfizer’s actions cement the pharmaceutical industry’s opposition to the misuse of medicine,’ comments Maya Foa, director at Reprieve. ‘Over 25 global pharmaceutical companies have now taken action to prevent the misuse of their medicines in executions.’
‘It’s very significant that the pharmaceutical industry is speaking with a unified, singular voice saying we don’t want our products used this way and actually taking steps to ensure that they aren’t,’ says Megan McCracken, a lawyer at the Death Penalty Clinic at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law in the US.
It has been getting increasingly difficult for states to obtain lethal injection drugs. This has driven US states to seek alternative, and in some cases illegal, sources for these drugs, and has caused legal challenges in numerous states. Meanwhile, countries around the world have blocked the use of drugs in lethal injection. Some states have resorted to using unapproved manufacturers from countries such as India or obtained them from ‘compounding pharmacies’, which mix or alter drugs but whose products are not FDA-regulated. Many states have put laws in place that prevent or prohibit the disclosure of information about the source of drugs and how they’re obtained. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, lawsuits have been brought in Texas, Georgia, Arkansas and Missouri to try to force states to identify drug suppliers.
Now, says Foa, instead of passing secrecy laws intended to undermine the safeguards put in place by drug companies, it is up to the states ‘to respect the legitimate commercial interests of the pharmaceutical industry and agree to stop misusing their medicines in lethal injection executions’.

Dr. Hemchandra Tipnis, doyen of pharma profession, passes away

Dr. Hemchandra P. Tipnis, retired principal of Bombay College of Pharmacy (BCP) and Central Executive Council Member of Indian Pharmaceutical Association (IPA) passed away on May 23, 2016 after a massive cardiac arrest. 

Born on July 7, 1933, Dr. Tipnis completed his Masters and Doctorate from University of California School of Pharmacy and University of Nebraska respectively. He pioneered the initial bioavailability studies in human volunteers and his research papers formed the basis for amendments to Drugs & Cosmetics Act, with the ultimate inclusion of Schedule Y in the Act. Dr Tipnis was amongst the first to understand the importance of industry tie-ups in growth of academic institutes and sew-up partnerships between the pharma industry and BCP, a move that propelled BCP into the big league of pharmacy colleges not just in the country but internationally as well. 

Dr. Tipnis was active in the professional activities of IPA and was elected president of Indian Pharmaceutical Congress (IPC), the top, annual national pharma congregation, in 2007. He was also the scientific convener of IPCs in 1988, 1989,1990 & 1991. His vision and acumen helped Indian pharma industry get attuned to the global regulatory requirements and opened the doors to Indian ANDA filings with the USFDA. A recipient of many prestigious awards conferred by the pharma fraternity and IPA, Dr. Tipnis in his career guided 35 Doctorate and 100 Masters students; students who today literally are the ‘Who’s Who’ of the pharma profession globally.

Dr. Tipnis leaves behind a seemingly space in the pharma profession and more particularly pharma education sphere which cannot be filled. Indian Pharmaceutical Association, Bombay College of Pharmacy and the fraternity join hands in condoling the sad demise of this doyen of pharma profession. 

Presumptive President of the Philippines, Duterte, Says Yes to Medical Marijuana

In the recently concluded Philippine National Elections, the seemingly ferocious Mayor of Davao City is now the presumptive President of the country. Rodrigo Duterte's iron-clad style of government had been widely accepted in his turf, Davao, and the whole country for that matter. And as his formal takeover is nearing, Duterte's decisions on some pressing matters have gained both approval and negation from the people just like his recently announced supportfor the use of medical marijuana.
In a country with Catholics dominating almost 80 percent of its population, it is safe to say that pressing issues concerning moral values are considered sensitive matters. The idea of allowing the use of medical marijuana in the Philippines had been opposed by various groups ever since the idea was presented to the public.
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) is adamant in their lobby to oppose the use of medical marijuana. Although there are people and organizations who also endorse the use of medical marijuana, a bill was actually filed in the Philippine Congress to legalize the use of medical marijuana in 2014.
"We are at this stage, we have Filipinos who need care, we should give them compassionate care - this medical cannabis. There are a lot of medicines, but they are expensive," said Rep. Leah Paquiz, co-author of the bill in an interview with CNN Philippines.
But until today, the bill remains untouched by the seemingly conservative majority in the congress. But the strong-willed Duterte is about to change that.
Presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte or Digong as he is fondly called is uncompromising when it comes to the use of illegal drugs. He openly expressed his anger towards drug pushers and his intent to kill those who don't want to obey his commands but is openminded when it comes to the use of medical marijuana.
Although he said he would never allow the use of recreational marijuana, Digong is in favor of medical marijuana because of the benefits it can provide to those who need it. "Medical marijuana, yes, because it is an ingredient of modern medicine now. There are medicines now being developed or already in the market that contains marijuana as a component but used for medical purposes" said Duterte in an interview with ABS-CBN.
Duterte is open to the use of medical marijuana, but according to a report by Politics Today, he said that he will leave the decision to the concerned government department where the issue will be discussed in the proper venue acknowledging that the decision is not entirely up to him. 

But despite his assurance that medical marijuana may be allowed in the Philippines, he reminded those who are planning to abuse the law that his rule against illegal drugs will apply. As Digong always say, 'either they follow the rule or they die'.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Personality of the Day: Gabriel Fahrenheit Biography

Born: May 14, 1686 
Danzig, Germany 
Died: September 16, 1736 
The Hague, the Netherlands 

German instrument maker and glassblower
The German instrument maker Gabriel Fahrenheit made the first reliable thermometers, and the temperature scale he created is named after him.

Early life

Born in Danzig, Germany, on May 14, 1686, Gabriel Daniel Fahrenheit was one of Daniel and Concordia Schumann Fahrenheit's five children. His father was a wealthy merchant. Both his parents died on the same day, August 14, 1701, and he was then sent to Amsterdam, the Netherlands, to work for and learn from a shopkeeper. After completing a term of four years there, Fahrenheit became interested in making scientific instruments. Although he lived in Amsterdam most of his life, he traveled widely to observe the work of scientists and makers of instruments in other areas. He spent considerable time in England, where he became a member of the Royal Society (Great Britain's oldest organization of scientists).

Creation of thermometers

Fahrenheit completed his first two thermometers by 1714. They contained alcohol and agreed exactly in their readings. The scale that was to bear Fahrenheit's name had not yet been made standard, and many different scales were tried before he settled on one. He soon decided to replace the alcohol with mercury and completed a series of investigations based on the work of Danish astronomer Olaus Roemer. In these investigations he determined the boiling point of water and other liquids and studied the expansion (increase in volume) properties of mercury. These experiments led to the discovery that the boiling point of water varies with changes in the pressure of the atmosphere. Fahrenheit also discovered the method of supercooling water—that is, cooling water to below its normal freezing point without it becoming ice.
Taking all of these factors into consideration, Fahrenheit began to doubt the reliability of the freezing and boiling points of water. He finally settled on a temperature scale ranging from 0 to 212. In 1724, announcing his method of making thermometers in thePhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, he described how he used the temperatures of the human body and of a mixture of water, ice, and sea salt to be his high and low measuring points. He set 0 as the temperature of the mixture, 32 as the temperature of water and ice, and 212, a point selected by chance, as the approximate boiling point of water.

Success and new developments

Fahrenheit's thermometers were very popular. He used mercury successfully because of his method of cleaning it, and he introduced the use of cylinder-shaped bulbs instead of sphere-shaped ones. His detailed process of making thermometers, however, was not made public for some eighteen years, since he wanted to keep his methods a secret. Among the other instruments he created were a constant-weight hydrometer (an instrument to measure the gravity and strength of a liquid), and a "thermobarometer" for estimating barometric pressure (the pressure of the atmosphere) by determining the boiling point of water.
On September 16, 1736, at fifty years old, Fahrenheit died in the Netherlands. He was buried in the city of The Hague. Fahrenheit never married and continued to be active up to his death. Just before he died, he applied for a patent on a machine that would pump water out of polders (drained land in the Netherlands that lies below sea level).

For More Information

Cajori, Florian. A History of Physics. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1899.
Fahrenheit, Gabriel Daniel. Fahrenheit's Letters to Leibniz and Boerhaave. Edited by Pieter van der Star. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1983.
King, Allen L. Thermophysics. San Francisco, CA: W. H. Freeman, 1962.
Lipson, Henry. The Great Experiments in Physics. Edinburgh, Scotland: Oliver & Boyd, 1968.

Personality of the Day: Sir Charles Berry (Architect)

Ironically, Charles Barry was born just a stone’s throw from his greatest work. Born in Bridge Street, Westminster, his masterpiece is considered to be the rebuilding of the Houses of Parliament in London, after the fire of 1834.
After working for a firm of surveyors for six years, Barry set off on a tour from 1817 to 1820 which gave him a knowledge ready to observe and practice architecture. He worked mostly in the Gothic Revival style and his first two public commissions, the churches of St Matthew in Manchester and All Saints in Lancashire followed the Gothic line.
© RIBA Library Drawings & Archives Collections  
Born: 1765 (-1860)
Nationality: British 
Barry was still able to apply the Italian palazzo style of Florence and Rome, massive and solid rather than just a shell, to his buildings, and the best example of this is the Traveller’s Club in Pall Mall, London, which he won by competition. The building is seen as an improved version of the Florence Palazzo and is considered a turning point in English architecture.
In 1836, Barry was commisioned to design The Houses of Parliament and work began in 1840. However, it did not open until 12 years later. Delays were caused on-site by the necessity of clearing the old buildings, difficulties with the heating and ventilation superintendant, and a mason’s strike.
Barry chose Augustus Welby Pugin to work as the skilled decorator on the scheme because he admired his enthusiasm for Gothic details. Barry the architect was the planner and businessman who complemented Pugin's skills as a sensitive artist. 
Barry’s qualities seem to lie in his versatility. He could deliver whatever the client required, as long as it included ornamentation. Manchester City Art Gallery was built in 1835 as a Greek Revival building, for example. Judging by the high level of decoration on his buildings, Barry seems to have disliked blank spaces.
  • Royal Gold Medal, 1850
Buildings by Barry:  
  • St Matthew, Campfield, Manchester, 1825
  • All Saints, Stand, Lancashire, 1826 
  • Traveller’s Club, London, 1829
  • Manchester City Art Gallery, 1835
  • The Houses of Parliament, 1836
  • Trafalgar Square, 1845
  • Canford Manor, Dorset, 1850

Breast cancer drug discovery offers hope of new treatments

May 23, 2016
University of Edinburgh
A new drug discovery approach has yielded a potential therapy for breast cancer that may be more effective than existing medicines. Scientists have identified a chemical compound that is highly effective at blocking the growth of breast cancer cells in the laboratory.
A drug for breast cancer that is more effective than existing medicines may be a step closer thanks to new research.
Scientists have identified a chemical compound that is highly effective at blocking the growth of breast cancer cells in the laboratory.
The compound -- called eCF506 -- targets a molecule called Src tyrosine kinase that is required for breast cancer cells to grow and spread.
Drugs that target the same molecule are already being tested in clinical trials. Researchers say eCF506 is different because it is more selective and doesn't affect other molecules in the cell.
This may mean it will be more effective and have fewer side effects than the other drugs in development but further studies are needed, researchers say.
The study identified the compound using a pioneering approach that uses imaging techniques to directly visualise the effects of candidate drugs on cells.
The team from the University of Edinburgh says the discovery proves that this approach offers a powerful and cost-effective method of discovering new medicines for cancer and other diseases.
The study, published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, was funded by the Medical Research Council, Wellcome Trust and the commercialisation catalyst Sunergos Innovations.
Dr Asier Unciti-Broceta, who led the study at the University's Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre, said: "eCF506 is the first drug candidate of a second generation of Src inhibitors that will not only help to understand the complexity of some cancers but also the development of safer combination therapies."
Professor Neil Carragher, Head of the Edinburgh Cancer Discovery Unit at the University of Edinburgh, who co-led the study, said: "This candidate drug will need to undergo further preclinical testing before it can be taken forward into clinical trials but these early findings are very promising.
"The result provides further support for our new drug discovery approach, which aims to deliver more effective medicines at reduced costs for patients and healthcare providers."


Friday, May 20, 2016

NPPA fixes price of 27 drug formulation packs

NPPA has fixed/revised ceiling prices of 27 scheduled formulations of Schedule-I under Drugs (Price Control) Amendment Order, 2016.and Retail Price of 4 formulations under DPCO, 2013 in related Notification /order dated 18.5.2016 is given below :-

For details please click the following:

Copies of Gazette Notifications for Ceiling Prices/retail price under DPCO, 2013
Formulation based on bulk drugs
Notified ceiling prices of 24 scheduled formulations of Schedule-I under Drugs (Price Control) Amendment Order, 2016.
Revised ceiling price of 2 (Abacavir+Lamivudine) & (Cefotaxime) scheduled formulations of Schedule-I under Drugs (Price Control) Amendment Order, 2016.
Notified ceiling prices of 1 (Oral Rehydration Salt) scheduled formulations of Schedule-I under Drugs (Price Control) Amendment Order, 2016.
Retail Price of 4 formulations under DPCO, 2013. [(Neomycin Sulphate+Clobetasol Propionate+Clotrimazole based 1 formulation pack), (Doxorubicin HCl Injection based 1 formulation pack), (Paracetamol+ Etoricoxib based 1 formulation pack) and (Travoprost + Timolol Maleate based 1 formulation pack)]

Coming soon: Access 50 years of solved JEE question papers on app, portal

  • Prashant K. Nanda, Livemint, New Delhi
  •  |  
  • Updated: May 19, 2016 12:49 IST
  • The central government and the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) have jointly decided to release solved question papers of all joint entrance examinations (JEE) held in the last 50 years, Union human resources development (HRD) minister Smriti Irani said. The move is aimed at helping students and reducing the influence of the coaching industry.
    The papers will be released through an app and a portal.
    The IIT-JEE has long been India’s most iconic and also its most difficult entrance examination.
    The IITs and the HRD ministry have also decided to prepare questions for JEE exams keeping in mind the Class XII syllabus to reduce the difficulty level of the JEE, the minister said.
    The ministry has also asked IITs to help aspirants with video and audio lectures.
    Irani said many people have complained about the menace of the coaching industry. “The question is, what can we do”? The answer, she added, was to provide 50 years of question papers. This will happen in the next two months, Irani said.
    The ministry’s move follows a spate of suicides in Kota, a Rajasthan town often called the coaching capital of India. At least half-a-dozen students have committed suicide in Kota this year, the latest one being on 28 April.
    India’s coaching industry was worth Rs.40,000 crore in 2011 as per a report by rating agency Crisil. Though its current size is not available, industry insiders peg it in excess of Rs.50,000 crore.
    The IITs are India’s most elite engineering schools.
    The entrance examination is tough, and requires more than just proficiency with the Class XII syllabus.
    That prompts students to take up coaching classes, Irani explained. To address that, “for the first time, the government, in conjunction with the IIT Council, will ensure that the question papers (of JEE) conform to Standard XII syllabus”.
    “If degree-level questions are asked, we cannot expect a school student to answer,” the minister added. She said the present system was encouraging students of various school boards to go to places such as Kota “to get that knowledge”.
    Irani said that recognizing the language challenge of students in different parts of the country, her ministry has asked the IITs to make all study material available in 13 languages.
    In 2012, the IITs for the first time uploaded JEE answer sheets for a “brief period of time” before the final rankings were prepared. In August 2011, the Supreme Court had ruled that examination answer sheets must be made public under the Right to Information Act.
    “I don’t think coaching industry is a menace,” said Satya Narayanan R., executive chairman of CL Educate (formerly Career Launcher) which runs a chain of coaching institutes.
    “The aim of coaching centres and government is one—to benefit students. Opening up the JEE papers is a good move and shall benefit students. But the question is why students are going for coaching. The answer is, the formal education system has gaps which have not been plugged for decades,” he added.
  • source:

Immune drug for deadly skin cancer shows long-term survival

A new kind of drug for the deadliest form of skin cancer helped some patients survive for at least three years, a study shows. It's a remarkable advance for patients who until recently faced dismal chances of living for more than a few months.
About 40 percent of melanoma patients in the study were still alive three years later. The drug, which targets the immune system, was used to treat formerPresident Jimmy Carter, who was diagnosed last summer with melanoma that had spread to his brain.
"This is incredible," Dr. Caroline Robert, the study's lead author, said of the results released Wednesday. "I spend my time telling my residents that these patients would be dead if it was five years ago."
The drug, Keytruda, is among a new class of genetically engineered antibody-based medicines. They block proteins that prevent the body's disease-fighting immune system from attacking cancer cells. This immunotherapy approach is transforming treatment for several kinds of cancer with drugs that are often less toxic than chemotherapy.
The latest findings for Merck's Keytruda (kee-TROO'-duh) are among the best long-term data ever for treating melanoma that has spread to other organs, Robert and other cancer experts said.
Keytruda, also known as pembrolizumab (pem-bro-LIZ'-uh-mab,) is one of the treatments Carter received after his diagnosis last year, and he has done well.
"The way we think about this is that the drug has kept the disease under control and it has been well-tolerated," Cleveland Clinic cancer specialist Dr. Dale Shepard told CBS News in December. "For someone who is 90 years old, getting these sorts of therapies and doing so well, it's pretty amazing."
In March, the former president announced that he no longer needs treatment for cancer, though his spokeswoman said he would "resume treatment if necessary."
Carter, now 91, was seen beaming last weekend as he helped give an honorary humanities degree to rocker Gregg Allman at Georgia's Mercer University, where Carter is a trustee.
The new results in 655 patients are a follow-up to research that led to the 2014 approval of Keytruda for advanced melanoma.
In addition to the 40 percent survival rate at three years, Robert said 85 patients remain cancer-free. "Of course it's not enough," but it raises hope for an eventual cure for the disease, she said.
Robert, a melanoma researcher at Gustave Roussy cancer center near Paris, has worked as a consultant for Merck and Bristol-Myers Squibb, which makes two other immunotherapy drugs approved for advanced melanoma. The newest drug, Opdivo, targets the same protein as Keytruda, while Yervoy targets a different protein.
Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, the American Cancer Society's deputy chief medical officer, said the new Keytruda research "is a big deal."
"Looking to the future, these treatments are going to be used earlier in the course of this disease," sometimes combined with other immunotherapy drugs, Lichtenfeld said.
The Keytruda study was released at a news briefing organized by the American Society of Clinical Oncology in advance of the group's annual meeting next month in Chicago.
The American Cancer Society estimates that almost 77,000 people will be diagnosed with melanoma this year and that 10,000 will die from the disease. It's much less common than other skin cancers and much more aggressive and likely to spread to other organs. The earliest sign is often a large misshapen or unusually colored mole that grows in size.
Yervoy, approved in 2011, has the longest-term data of the three drugs, with an eight-year survival rate of about 20 percent, said Dr. Thomas Gajewski, a University of Chicago immunotherapy expert.
He said success with Keytruda echoes what he's seen in melanoma patients at his center. They receive IV infusions of the drug for an hour every few weeks for an indefinite time unless they develop severe side effects, which he said are rare. Rashes and internal inflammation are the most common side effects and they are reversible if the drug is stopped. The yearly cost is more than $100,000, a higher price than some conventional cancer drugs.
Some insurers pay for the treatment, which Gajewski called "a game-changer" formelanoma, allowing many patients to return to work and live productive lives.
In other immunotherapy developments, a new drug was approved Wednesday forbladder cancer, and Opdivo was approved Tuesday for another cancer, Hodgkin lymphoma.
source: CBS/AP  May 19, 2016, 10:54 AM -

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Engineering boys develop robot to help tree climbers

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

India suspends licences of 10 drug firms over product quality, safety issues

The Indian government has suspended the manufacturing licences of 10 drug companies after their injections used for treating fungal infections were found unsafe, Shripad Yesso Naik, the Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, informed the Parliament on Tuesday.
The minister was quoted by the Press Trust of India as saying that there were efficacy and safety issues regarding the Liposomal Amphotericin B Injection, which is used for the treatment of systemic fungal infections and for Vesceral Leishmaniasis (Kala Azar).
He further said that the licences of the 10 drug firms have been suspended in six states following inputs from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). The names of the companies were not disclosed.
"The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) asked the State Licensing authorities concerned to suspend the manufacturing licenses of 10 manufacturers of Liposomal Amphotericin B Injection on March 11, 2016," Naik said during the question hour in Rajya Sabha, according to PTI.
The minister further said that based on the recommendations of an experts' committee from ICMR that reviewed the concerned drug, the 10 companies were directed to prove the safety, efficacy and quality of their products. "Show cause notices were issued to all 10 manufacturers to reply within three weeks as to why the manufacturing licences issued to them for their products Liposomal Amphotericin injection should not be suspended," the minister said.
He added that out of the 10 companies, only seven responded, and their responses were found unsatisfactory. "Accordingly, state licensing authorities were requested to suspend manufacturing licences of all the ten manufacturers of the product in public interest," Naik said, adding that the government has not terminated their licence, but asked the drug firms to fulfill the conditions so that they can restore the manufacture of the products. "Directions have also been given to states to suspend licences of all such medicines till they fulfill the conditions," he said.
The Indian government had on March 10 cracked a whip on the drug companies by banning 344 combination drugs, including popular medicines such as Corex and Phensedyl cough syrups, and Vicks Action 500 Extra, which led pharma firms to challenge the order in the Delhi High Court,.
The government is also considering regulation of the production of homoeopathic, Ayurvedic and Unani drugs under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940.

New intellectual property rights policy a mix baggage for Indian pharma

Experts say the IP policy shows that the govt has not succumbed to demands from the US, but that it should have made the policy more radical to protect India’s generic industry
New Delhi: Any discussion on intellectual property (IP) in India has implications on its health sector due to numerous legal and regulatory battles between the Indian generic industry and branded drugs produced by multinational companies (MNCs).
Developed countries, especially the US, have been pushing for a tighter patents regime in India in favour of their own MNCs. This context has determined the way the National Intellectual Property Rights Policy, approved by the cabinet last Thursday, has been framed.
Experts believe that the policy shows that the government has not succumbed to demands from the US, but that it should have made the policy more radical to protect India’s generic industry.
“This policy has something for everyone, be it industry, or public, or the US negotiators,” said Biswajit Dhar, professor of economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. He said the policy does not tilt towards any one stakeholder, which is not good news for the Indian generic industry.
“That is an issue which different stakeholders have to be very cautious about. The government is under tremendous pressure to yield to the multinationals. The language of the policy shows that Americans are putting a lot of pressure on the government,” he said
He added that the policy does not say anything about the generic industry. “There has to be a very clear articulation in the interest of the generic industry, which we do not see here,” said Dhar. He added that the best outcome of the policy is that Doha Declaration (of the World Trade Organization, or WTO) is the standard for framing IPR rules in India under an agreement known as the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights or TRIPS.
The policy says, “India shall remain committed to the Doha Declaration on TRIPS Agreement and Public Health.” The Doha Declaration is a 2001 WTO text which recognised that IP and patent regimes have to be weighed against the context of burning health issues like HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other epidemics that primarily affect the developing nations. Through bilateral agreements, developed countries have been trying to extract more than the promises of TRIPs, the agreement on trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights.
“If you combine the finance minister’s speech and the text of the policy, then it is clear that the government is not going to do anything more than TRIPs and that is really good,” said Leena Menghaney, head of south Asia, Access Campaign, Médecins Sans Frontières, an international non-profit.
She said that it means India has successfully resisted demands of TRIPs plus—bilateral agreements that provide for stronger protection for patents—with regard to international pharmaceuticals, i.e. data exclusivity, patent linkage and patent-term extension. She also said that it is laudable that the policy also does not open debate on Section 3(d) of Indian Patent Act, 1970, which is the primary contentious issue between India and MNCs like Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline.
Section 3(d) says that inventions that are discoveries of a new form of a known substance and do not result in increased efficacy are not patentable. Novartis’s cancer drug Glivec and GSK’s breast cancer drug Tykerb were denied patents by Indian courts on this grounds. Had a patent come in place, the medicines would be sold at a price many times higher than what their generic versions by Indian companies cost.
India’s generic industry is also concerned.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley said in a press conference on Friday, “We believe that our existing laws, they are all WTO compliant, and as and when global trends move forward, a continuous evolution of these laws will always be required.”
Commenting on Jaitley’s remarks, D.G. Shah, secretary general, Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance, said, “The word ‘evolution’ is a matter of concern because it has moved in one direction only, pressured by the developed countries. Hence, unless the government is ready with funding and programmes to ensure access to medicine for all, any change in the legislative framework would hurt not only the generic industry, but the people of India.”
A major issue of concern is IP enforcement and linking IP with innovation.
“The policy sees IP as an end in itself. But most of the research in India is conducted in universities which are publicly funded. We cannot give patent for such knowledge to individuals,” said Shamnad Basheer, a legal scholar who runs blog Spicy IP.
Meghaneyl agrees with Basheer.
“There is an overemphasis on IP enforcement. But it does not address the gaps which innovators face in the bio-medical field. The developed countries are not developing medicines for diseases of the third world like malaria. The policy does not help create an atmosphere where Indian companies can develop such medicines. Putting innovation within the framework of IP will not help,” said Menghaney.

Personality of the Day - Omar Khayyam

Omar Khayyám (1048 – 1131) was an extremely talented and famous Persian mathematician, astronomer, philosopher and poet.
The full name of Khayyam was Ghiyath al-Din Abu'l-Fath Umar ibn Ibrahim Al-Nishapuri al-Khayyami. Omar Khayyam was born on May 18, 1048 in Nishapur, Iran. His work as an outstanding mathematician and astronomer had led to the reform of the ancient Muslim calendar.

As A Mathematician
He authored the very famous and influential “Treatise on Demonstration of Problems of Algebra” (1070), which designed the principles of algebra.  In his treatise, he worked on the triangular array of binomial coefficients called as “Pascal's triangle”.  In 1077, he finished writing “Sharh ma ashkala min musadarat kitab Uqlidis.”  This work got published in English by the title “On the Difficulties of Euclid's Definitions”.

As An Astronomer
Khayyam was a popular and eminent astronomer too.  The version of Iranian calendar of the medieval times in which compilation of 2,820 solar years cover 1,029,983 days was grounded on the measurements of Khayyám and his co-scientists.

As A Poet
The poetic works of Khayyam has surpassed his popularity as a mathematician and scientist. It is said that he wrote around a thousand four-line verses or “Rubaiyat” (quatrains).

As A Philosopher
Khayyam never accepted himself with the title “falsafi” in the sense of Aristotelian one. He was marked as the one “detached from divine blessings”, by his contemporaries. Apparently, he was quite influenced by the Epicurus’s philosophy.  Also, he taught the philosophy of Avicena for a large number of years, particularly “the Book of Healing” in his native town Nishapur until his death. 


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

World Telecommunication & Information Society Day (WTISD-2016)

The purpose of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) is to help raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICT) can bring to societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge the digital divide.
17 May marks the anniversary of the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention and the creation of the International Telecommunication Union. 

World Telecommunication Day

World Telecommunication Day has been celebrated annually on 17 May since 1969, marking the founding of ITU and the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention in 1865. It was instituted by the Plenipotentiary Conference in Malaga-Torremolinos in 1973.

World Information Society Day

In November 2005, the World Summit on the Information Society called upon the UN General Assembly to declare 17 May as World Information Society Day to focus on the importance of ICT and the wide range of issues related to the Information Society raised by WSIS. The General Assembly adopted a resolution in March 2006 stipulating that World Information Society Day shall be celebrated every year on 17 May. 

World Telecommunication and Information Society Day

In November 2006, the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in Antalya, Turkey, decided to celebrate both events on 17 May as World Telecommunication and Information Society Day. The updated Resolution 68 invites Member States and Sector Members to celebrate the day annually by organizing appropriate national programmes with a view to:
Ø stimulating reflection and exchanges of ideas on the theme adopted by the Council
Ø debating the various aspects of the theme with all partners in society
Ø formulating a report reflecting national discussions on the issues underlying the theme, to be fed back to ITU and the rest of its membership

The day is celebrated with a different theme every year.  The theme for WTD 2006 it was “Promoting Global Cyber-security”, for WTD 2007 it was “Connecting the Youth, the Opportunities of ICT”, for WTD 2008 it was “Connecting persons with disabilities”.   In 2016, World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD-2016) will focus on the theme: “ICT entrepreneurship for social impact”, in accordance with Resolution 68 and as endorsed by ITU Council 2015.