WHO launches plan for cheaper TB Drugs :-
Invitation for Pharmaceutical Companies
- The WHO has invited pharmaceutical companies around the world to submit proposals to manufacture affordable versions of newer medicines for treatment of drug resistant tuberculosis
- WHO has now requested drug makers to submit an Expression of Interest (EoI) for Bedaquiline and Delaminid, two new-generation drugs, recommended for drug resistant-TB
- Under WHO norms, drugs submitted upon such requests and complying with its standards are included in a list for procurement by the UN and other organisations
What is the aim behind this invitation?
- The aim is to replicate the success of addressing the HIV epidemic
- For example, competition among Indian drug producers had then brought down the price of HIV medicines by 99% from $15,000 per patient per year to less than a dollar a day
- Also, one of the aims of is to ensure that a greater number of manufacturers are supplying quality medicines, which, in turn, means a more competitive market and more affordable prices
- India has nearly 1.3 lakh DR-TB patients, the most in the world, but the Health Ministry gets only 10,000 doses of Bedaquiline and 400 doses of Delaminid.
- The medicines are obtained as donations from Janssen (US) and Otsuka Pharmaceuticals (Japan), the respective manufacturers.
NITI Aayog to work on mechanism for MSP implementation :-
A mechanism for implementation of the Minimum Support Price (MSP)
- Government think-tank NITI Aayog said it will work out a mechanism for implementation of the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for different crops in the country
- The Aayog noted that the procurement by central and state agencies is limited to rice and wheat and some amount of coarse cereals
Three concepts discussed
- The first option related to market assurance scheme, which proposes procurement by states and compensation of losses up to a certain extent of MSP after the procurement and price realization out of the sale of the procured produce
- Second option related to price deficiency procurement scheme. Under this scheme, if the sale price is below a modal price then the farmers may be compensated to the difference between MSP and actual price subject to a ceiling which may not exceed 25 percent of the MSP. No compensation would be due if the modal price in neighboring states is above the MSP
- Third option related to private procurement and stockist scheme. It relates to procurement by private entrepreneurs at MSP and government providing some policy and tax incentives and a commission to such private entities
Better prospects via private procurement
- The option of private procurement and stockist scheme offered great promise as it reduces the fiscal implications for the government, involves private entities as partners in agriculture marketing and improves the competition in the market
- The government’s liabilities for storage and post-procurement management and disposal are also avoided
International Solar Alliance drops limits on membership :-
No restrictions on membership in ISA
- India, a founding member of the International Solar Alliance said that membership of the body will be thrown open to all countries that want to join the grouping
- There will be no restrictions on duration of sunlight or geographical location
- PM Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron will be formally launching the International Solar Alliance on 11th March
Previous criteria for membership
- When the International Solar Alliance was announced in 2015, 121 nations situated between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn and receiving 300 days of sunlight were deemed eligible for membership
Three Indian ‘Smart Cities’ selected among finalists for WWF’s One Planet City Challenge :-
3 cities enter ‘One Planet City Challenge’
- Three Indian cities — Panaji, Pune, and Rajkot have been selected as national finalists in the 2017-18 edition of World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF)’s One Planet City Challenge (OPCC)
- These are among the 99 cities under the Government of India’s Smart City Mission
About One Planet City Challenge (OPCC) :-
- The One Planet City Challenge, previously known as the Earth Hour City Challenge, invites cities in participating countries to report ambitious and innovative climate actions and to demonstrate how they are delivering on the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change
- Data is entered on the carbonn Climate Registry, and outreach and support is provided to cities in collaboration with ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability
- Final plans and data are then reviewed by an international jury of experts tasked with identifying the most outstanding cities
- Since the inception of the Challenge in 2011, WWF has engaged over 411 cities across 5 continents
- In 2017, 118 cities in 23 countries participated in the OPCC, which had a thematic focus on Sustainable transport and mobility as a major challenge facing cities everywhere
More competition ahead
- The three cities have moved on to the next phase of the challenge and will now compete for the title of National and Global Winner
- Over the last four years, cities that have won global challenge include – Paris (2016), Seoul (2015) Cape Town (2014) and Vancouver (2013)
SC Allows Passive Euthanasia & Living Will :-
Stating that human beings have the right to die with dignity, the Supreme Court (SC) today allowed passive euthanasia, but made sure to set out strict guidelines that will govern when it is permitted.
The order was passed today by a five-judge Constitution bench of Chief Justice (CJI) Dipak Misra and Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan.
- The top court also allowed an individual to draft a living will specifying that they not be put on life support if they slip into an incurable coma in the future.
- All of the judges were unanimous that a ‘living will’ should be allowed, because an individual should not be allowed to continue suffering in a vegetative state when they don’t wish to continue living.
- The SC said it was aware of the pitfalls in giving effect to ‘living wills’, considering the property disputes relatives have. Therefore, the SC said the relatives of a patient who has not written a ‘living will’ can approach high courts asking for passive euthanasia.
Apex Court Strict Guidelines for Living Will :-
- The top court said that its guidelines and directives will remain in force till a legislation is brought to deal with the issue.
- The Bench has laid down guidelines on who would execute the will and how nod for passive euthanasia would be granted by the medical board to determine the patient in a vegetative state could be revived or not.
While hearing the case, SC had observed that right to die peacefully may be incorporated as a part of fundamental right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution.
NGO Common Cause :-
The apex court’s order came on a plea by the NGO ‘Common Cause’. The NGO had approached the court seeking a direction for the recognition of a ‘living will’ and contended that when a medical expert said that a person afflicted with terminal disease had reached a point of no return, then they should be given the right to refuse being put on life support.