Medical tourism gets a boost after rupee fall

Medical tourism gets a boost after rupee fall

Chennai, Aug 23 (TruthDive) : Medical Tourism in South India and more so in Chennai will see a surge with the rupee fall. This time the patients would also be from US as President Barack Obama health care initiative – the US Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, becomes fully operational in 2014.

Fortis Healthcare group posted a 25% increase in patients coming from abroad and in the coming years it expects a 30% growth. It has a steady growth in Americans coming for treatment.

The biggest beneficiary of medical tourism is Apollo Hospitals network. The majority of the patients comes from South East Asian countries who form 36% and next two regions are the Middle East and Africa with 26% each while Europe and US contribute only 3% . This number would go up.

US insurance companies are eyeing India since the charges are less and there is very little waiting time for surgery. India attracted one million patients from abroad and globally US tops the country that gets the lion’s share of the $100 billion medical tourism pie. India gets 3% of the market share.

Big chains in India are approved and certified by Joint Commission International. Last year, a survey comparing the cost of treatment in India and US showed the difference. In India, a heart bypass surgery costs $7000 while in US it can be as high as $133,000 and low as $70,000. The same surgery in Thailand is $22,000 and in South Korea it is $31,750.

Knee replacement in India is $9200 and in Thailand it is $11,500 and in South Korea it is $11,800. The rupee fall has given India’s medical tourism better edge over the rivals Thailand, South Korea and Philippines since the currencies of these countries lost by 4% against the dollar while Indian currency dipped by 16%. The rupee fall effect will be seen after two months which marks the start of the season when travellers come to India combining leisure with treatment.

Lifebuoy Vs Dettol

Lifebuoy Vs Dettol

Mumbai, June 14 (TruthDive) : Dettol and Lifebuoy are engaged in an advt war as to who is a more effective germ killer.

Dettol which is 80 years old and started with its antiseptic liquid and moved on to soap with the same feature is a market leader in the liquid segment cornering 80% of the Rs 200 crore followed by Savlon from Johnson and Johnson.

Lifebuoy is a clear leader in the health segment with 14 % share compared to Dettol’s 8 % but it is peeved that most Indians in a study showed that instead of anti-germ soap, they are using antispetic liquid mixed in water for bath.

A commercial on air shows a doctor asking the parent of a child gone unwell due to germ infection and asks which soap he uses to bathe the child.The parent replies that he uses an antiseptic liquid in the water to which the doctor says that the liquid will only kill the germs in the bucket and not the ones in the body. He advises to use Lifebuoy soap.

This has kicked off a storm with Reckitt, manufacturers of Dettol and has hit at them. Hindustan Union Lever (HUL) who makes Lifebuoy says that it was issued in public interest based on a study by a lab and not named anybody.

It is not the first time that Reckitt cries foul. In an earlier commercial, Lifebuoy claimed that its new brand Lifubuoy was 10 times more effective in killing germs than any other brand. Reckitt went to Advertising Council who ruled that Lifebuoy should withdraw the commercial.

It is not known whether Reckitt would this time go to the council but Lifebuoy is confident that it is based on lab reports. Of the health segment of the Rs 10,000-crore soaps market, Lifebuoy has Rs 3000 crore share and the other growing segment is beauty segment which is Rs 5000 crore.

Now the health segment is growing faster than beauty segment with Dettol growing at 25% each year. It has also been priced higher to be in the premium bracket for its products like hand wash and hand sanitizer.

Government hospitals flooded with dengue fever all over Tamil Nadu

Government hospitals flooded with dengue fever all over Tamil Nadu

Tirunelveli, May 21(TruthDive): Government hospitals in the state are swamped with patients as the Dengue fever has almost spread all over the southern part of Tamil Nadu.

The health department is concerned about the epidemic as in just five months 1, 632 cases of dengue fever has been recorded this year in Tamil Nadu.

The most affected is the Tirunelveli region which is on a high alert as twenty one people have been already succumbed to the dreaded disease. On Sunday, a total of seventy nine patients were admitted in different hospitals around Tirunelveli.

Sources said that many private hospitals in the district avoided patients with dengue fever fearing, in case of any untoward incident occurs the villagers might lose their control by showing their anger towards the hospital staff, which led the patients running towards government hospitals, said a health official in Tirunelveli.

He also said that as the government hospitals are running acute shortage of beds, they have asked clients and private hospitals to provide with beds that are not in use. The hospital also lacks with required health staff, he pointed.

From Nagercoil and Virudhunagar, too death report was recorded due to dengue fever on Saturday. Several cases have been reported from Tuticorin which caused the health staff running on their toes round the clock.

The Tirunelveli collector Selvaraj, has called for an urgent meeting with the health staff and urged them to step up precautionary measures.

RT Porkai Pandian, Director of Public Health said that they did not expect such a huge epidemic this year which resulted in many deaths across Tamil Nadu. Medicines are being supplied regularly in almost all prone areas, he added.

The health department has requested the local public to consult a doctor if fever resides for more than three days.

Health officials have also planned to telecast a documentary film in order to spread awareness among public on removal of sluggish fresh water where mosquitoes breed.

Second H1N1 death reported from Chennai

Second H1N1 death reported from Chennai

Chennai, Apr 19 (TruthDive): On Wednesday, the  State of Tamil Nadu experienced its second death due to the dreadful disease H1N1 following which fifty-five lakh doses of antibiotics were ordered by the State to fight against the alarming disease. In all, nearly fifty-four people were reported to be affected by the disease H1N1.

On Wednesday, a meeting was conducted at the Secretariat by V S Vijay, health minister and Girija Vaidhyanathan, health secretary with the officials of the senior health experts in order to control the disease and its further spread. The officials planned to propose an awareness programme across Tamil Nadu.

A senior health department official requested people not to get panicky as sufficient precautionary steps are being taken by the concerned authorities to keep things in control. The officials are yet to study and decide whether they have to give pentavalent vaccine along with H1N1 vaccine.

The State government has announced that the vaccine will be given free to the patient carrying respiratory diseases, tuberculosis, transplants, chronic disease and the elderly people with high risk. They also said that by the end of this week, 55 lakh doses of vaccines are expected to reach.

As far as experts are concerned, they said that in the year 2011 a total of twelve persons were reported dead due to the disease, and all the reported dead were either late in getting the treatment or were already suffering from respiratory disease or would have had a very weak immune system.

From Pudukkottai, a mother and her child were reported to be tested positive for the infection, said R T Porkai Pandian, director of public health. Of the total fifty-four cases tested positive in the State, half of the patients hail from Chennai, therefore continuous precautionary warnings have been given to most of the hospitals in Chennai and across Tamil Nadu.

People those who are running temperature are advised to take three paracetamol tablets a day. Patients with high fever should avoid medicines like steroids or aspirin as this might make the patient react against the disease.

Lupin gets US approval for schizophrenia drug

Lupin gets US approval for schizophrenia drug

New York, March 5 (TruthDive): Lupin Ltdhas received the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval for the generic version of Geodon capsules used to treat schizophrenia, the drugmaker said on Monday.

The Geodon brand, owned by Pfizer Inc, had annual sales of $1.35 billion in the United States in 2011, Lupin said in a statement.

Lupin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is the U.S. wholly owned subsidiary of Lupin Limited, which is among the top five pharmaceutical companies in India. Through our sales and marketing headquarters in Baltimore, MD, Lupin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is dedicated to delivering high-quality, branded and generic medications trusted by healthcare professionals and patients across geographies.

Lupin Limited, headquartered in Mumbai, India, is strongly research focused. It has a program for developing New Chemical Entities. The company has a state-of-the-art R&D center in Pune and is a leading global player in Anti-TB, Cephalosporins (anti-infectives) and Cardiovascular drugs (ACE-inhibitors and cholesterol reducing agents) and has a notable presence in the areas of diabetes, anti-inflammatory and respiratory therapy.

Building on the  parent company’s strengths of vertical integration in discovery research, process chemistry, active pharmaceutical ingredient production, formulation development and regulatory filings, Lupin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is moving towards its vision and mission of becoming an innovation led transnational pharmaceutical company.

Vinita Gupta, CEO of Lupin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. says “founded on the strengths of our parent company Lupin Limited, Lupin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. intends to bring a portfolio of generics as well as branded products to the US market.”For the financial year ended March 2010, Lupin Limited’s Revenues and Profit after Tax were Rs.47,678 million (US$ 1.1 billion) and Rs.6,186 million (US$ 152 million) respectively.

Lupin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. entered the U.S. generic pharmaceutical market in 2003 with the ANDA approval for cefuroxime axetil. Since then we have received more than a dozen FDA approvals. Six of Lupin’s 14 ANDA approvals were the first granted by the US FDA.

Healthy eating tips for students during exams

Healthy eating tips for students during exams

Chennai, Feb15 (TruthDive): First thing a student tends to forget during exams are a nutritious diet and enough sleep.

Long study hours, peer pressure and a general restlessness could result in a student eating all the time or not at all. Balanced and healthy food is the best study aid, say doctors.

“Children should start the day with an energy-rich breakfast. It’s not enough if you just have an egg. The brain needs a constant supply of glucose,” says Dr Swathi Padankatti, consultant paediatrician at Sundaram Medical Foundation.

According to dieticians, parents must include vegetables, fruit, milk and milk products, and sufficient water in their child’s diet as this helps keep the child quiet and improves oxygen flow to the brain.

Even slight dehydration can indicate a huge drop in performance. The meal pattern should be changed from three to six a day. It keeps a student alert and stress-free. Experts say, meals should be distributed over time, and a protein-rich lunch is ideal. Carbohydrates release glucose and make students feel tired, so protein intake is important.

Dieticians advise children not to eat in front of the television or while reading textbooks. Concentration should be on the food, or it might lead to indigestion and overeating, say nutritionists.

“An ideal meal would include plenty of fish, milk, sprouts and non-oily food. Spicy food must be avoided, as it can cause gastritis. Fish can be included in abundance as it is rich in DHA and Omega-3 fatty acids, both of which boost brain activity. Small and frequent meals are advisable as they release small amounts of sugar,” says Farhana Afroz, chief dietitian, HealthCare Global Enterprises Ltd.

Experts advise children must avoid eating food from restaurants. “Several eateries are not properly monitored. Even though the rate of vaccination against such diseases has improved, we still have a lot of children being brought in with typhoid and jaundice. I’ve noticed that when children fall sick during the exams, they get scared that they will miss the tests or that they won’t be able to write them well. This is especially true of high-performing students,” Dr Padankatti adds.

Doctors say, “Children should be in bed by 10pm, especially if they have an exam the next day. Lack of sleep combined with stress can cause nausea. I also advise parents to spend at least 10 to 15 minutes with their children, either speaking to them or engaging in some spiritual activity together. This helps calm their nerves.”

“Avoid sugary items before the exam or throughout the exam season. Choose a high-protein bar or a fruit over a candy bar. Limit caffeine intake and opt for buttermilk or fresh lemon juice instead. Bananas are excellent before an exam because they release energy bit by bit, unlike a chocolate bar, which gives an instant rush of energy that soon fades away,” says Farhana.

In case of even a minor indication of ill-health, the child should immediately be taken to a doctor.


HIV AIDS cases on the rise

HIV AIDS cases on the rise

November 30 (TruthDive): AIDS has proven a “formidable challenge” for scientists and public health experts. A World Health Organization-led report said the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) that causes AIDS infects about 34 million people around the world.

A quarter of a century of drug development means that for most people who contract the virus, it has become manageable through medication. Yet, Aids still claims many lives in the West.

The international community has made extraordinary progress in the past decade in the fight against AIDS, but a funding crisis is putting those gains at risk, the United Nations health agencies said on Wednesday.

Health officials in China stated that number of new HIV/AIDS cases in China is soaring with the rate of infections among college students and older men rising.

Latest figures in Wednesday’s report and from a UNAIDS global study last week show the number of new HIV infections fell to 2.7 million in 2010, down from 3.1 million in 2001, while the number of people getting life-saving AIDS drugs rose to 6.65 million in 2010 from just 400,000 in 2003.

Wednesday’s report, released ahead of World AIDS Day on December 1 by the WHO, the United Nations AIDS program, UNAIDS and the United Nations children’s fund UNICEF, said treatment, prevention and outreach programs are becoming more efficient, with health clinics integrating services and local communities finding more effective ways to get medicines to HIV patients.

With many large international donor countries struggling with recession and debt crises, Hirnschall said it was crucial for countries affected by HIV/AIDS to do all they can to fund their own programmes and make limited resources go further.

While people with HIV in developed countries have come to rely on drugs that help suppress a virus that was once a death sentence – both know that, even in the rich world, HIV can still be a killer.

A P J Kalam fails to satisfy anti Koodankulam protestors

A P J Kalam fails to satisfy anti Koodankulam protestors

Chennai, Nov7, (TruthDive): Dr A P J Kalam Former President and advocate of nuclear energy after an inspection of  Koodankulam nuclear plant gave it a clean chit and added that it posed no danger to people or environment. The protestors led by Udaykumar did not meet but felt that Kalam had not answered many of their queries

Kalam met some forty people but they do not represent the protestors said Udyakumar. Kalam citing many safeguards said  “There is no need to worry about the safety aspect of the plant, as it is in a low frequent seismic zone. There is also no threat of a Tsunami as the plant is 1,300 km away from the seismic centre point. Besides, the plant is 13.5 metres above sea level,” Kalam’s claims that the plant was safe in the event of a tsunami was not convincing as the tidal waves from the December 2004 tsunami rose above the 133 foot statue of Tamil saint poet Tiruvalluvar at Kanyakumari, Udaykumar said.

Kalam said that his mission was not to mediate with the protestors but to only give his report to the Government and committee. He pointed out that six scientists were injured during  the Rohini satellite launch but the programme was not shelved. He was available on his email for those who wanted info on Koodankulam . His opinion was that the plant would help Tamil Nadu’s growth and people should have confidence in the Government. Udayakumar  asked whether the Centre would dare set up a nuclear plant either in West Bengal or Kerala

Anti Koodankulam activists to meet PM

Anti Koodankulam activists to meet PM

Chennai, Oct 6 (TruthDive): Anti-Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) team has sought an appointment with PM through the Tamil Nadu Chief Secertary office. The team consisting of  ten members has to contact Chief  Secretary Debendranath Sarangi. The KNPP members will be informed the time and also the members of the State Government who will accompany them.

The KNPP memorandum clearly asks for scrapping of the project while the power starved TN passed a cabinet resolution to stop work till the local population fears are allayed and stopped short of asking for its scrapping. KNNP activists meeting the PM said that if the TN memorandum was not on the lines of their demand then both sides will present seperate memorandums.

M R Srinivasan who  is former chairman and current member of Atomic Energy Commission in an article to The New Indian Express observed that Koodankulam is safe and not vulnerable to quakes and that it was the third generation design reactor unlike the Fukishma which was first generation reactor He wrote “In May, A E Mutthunayagan, former secretary, Department of Ocean Development and I visited the Koodankulam site and reviewed the safety of the installation from the point of view of tsunamis and flood hazards. We went over the levels adopted for various plant equipment and were satisfied that they were well above the level of any possible tsunami or flood anticipated. We also noted that Koodankulam is well connected to the southern grid which is fed by a number of thermal and hydroelectric power stations in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. We were impressed with many of the other safety features of the design.

India has 20 nuclear reactors in operation and has trained a large number of competent personnel for operations and maintenance. While many of our units are 220 MW in size, units 3 and 4 at Tarapur are 540 MW in size. The two Tarapur units have been operating well in the last 2 years. Koodankulam units are of 1000 MW capacity and hence scale up from Tarapur units is not expected to present any difficulties.

Some weeks prior to the September agitation, a rumour had spread in the neighbouring villages that the Department of Atomic Energy was likely to evacuate people living there and acquire their lands. The DAE has no plans to acquire any land beyond what it already possesses and has adequate land for even additional units that may come up.

Many of the people living around Koodankulam are engaged in fishing activities. There are fears that the reactor might affect their means of livelihood but fishing activities at Kalpakkam and Tarapur are going on normally without any hindrance. In fact quality of life and standard of living has improved in these areas.

Some who oppose nuclear energy on principle say ‘let us use solar and wind energy’. At present solar energy costs about Rs 20/kWh, wind energy may cost Rs 10/kWh and is available only for about 20 or 25 per cent of the time when wind blows. Our nuclear power stations are selling energy at Rs 1/ kWh at Tarapur, Rs 3/kWh at Kaiga and the newer units. Power from Koodankulam will be well below Rs 3/kWh. We all know how Tamil Nadu and the other southern states are struggling with power shortages. The two units of Koodankulam will supply about 1000 MW to Tamil Nadu, without the hassle of getting coal from Orissa or overseas. It is therefore in the interest of the people of Tamil Nadu to let the Koodankulam units to be put into operation at the earliest. The safety record of the NPCIL and the Department of Atomic Energy is very good and they can be trusted not to sacrifice the safety of the people living in and around Koodankulam,”

Aspirin regular users to suffer vision loss later in life

Aspirin regular users to suffer vision loss later in life

London, Oct 4 (TruthDive): A new research has suggested that people who take a daily dose of aspirin are twice as likely to suffer an age-related loss of vision as people who never take the pain reliever, according to a European study.

Researchers who tested more than 4,000 elderly people across Europe found that those who took the drug every day were twice as likely to be diagnosed with late stage age related macular degeneration as those who did not, the Telegraph reported. Of the 839 people who took aspirin each day, 36 had an advanced form of the disease called wet macular degeneration – or about four out of every 100 daily aspirin users. In comparison, roughly two out of every 100 people who took aspirin less frequently had the same type of macular degeneration.

The wet form of the condition, caused by leaking blood vessels in the eyes, leads to vision loss in the centre of the eye’s field of vision. The dry form is more common and less severe, although people still suffer visual impairment.

Together, wet and dry macular degeneration make up the leading causes of vision loss among people over age 60, afflicting millions of residents. The researchers found that aspirin use was not tied to the dry form, or to earlier stages of the disease.

Dr De Jong said there has been much controversy over the link between cardiovascular disease and macular degeneration. He told Reuters his team had analyzed as ‘meticulously as possible’ whether cardiovascular disease might have influenced the results, and still found that aspirin users – regardless of their heart health – are at a greater risk of the more serious type of vision loss.

For people with cardiovascular disease who take aspirin to prevent the condition from worsening, the benefits of the drug outweigh the risks to visual health, he added. ‘A healthy eye with full visual capacities is of no use in a dead body,’ he said.

Larger studies that follow people over time and document their aspirin use and vision will help resolve aspirin’s role in macular degeneration, De Jong added.