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Insights Daily Current Events, 09 March 2016
By INSIGHTS

Insights Daily Current Events, 09 March 2016
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Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to
Health, Education, Human Resources.

Cap profits, cut drug prices: Panel
An inter-ministerial committee, which was set up to study steep hike in trade margins and suggest ways to increase
affordability of expensive medicines and medical devices across the country, has submitted its report to the
government.
Among others, it has recommended capping of trade margins for costly drugs at 35% of MRP (maximum
retail price). This move could significantly bring down prices of expensive medicines.
Highlights of the report:
While acknowledging that trade margins fall under the domain of industry, the report highlights “consumer
protection” as an area where government interventions and regulations are required, mainly in sectors like
drugs or pharmaceuticals, where consumer has little choice.
Though the report suggests capping trade margins on expensive drugs at 35% of MRP, it also recommended
a different slab for lesser priced medicines. For products priced at Rs 2 per unit, the margin may be capped at
50%.
Background:
Under the previous price regime, trade margins were capped at 16% and 8% for drug retailers and wholesalers,
respectively. However, this was only on scheduled drugs, prices of which were directly capped and monitored by the
government. On other drugs, retailers were allowed a margin of 20%, whereas wholesalers were entitled to a
margin of 10%.
However, since the new drug pricing policy came into place in 2013, there is no ceiling on the trade margin.
Instead, the regulator National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) caps prices based on the average
price of all medicines in a particular segment with more than 1% market share.
It is estimated that this gap has allowed trade margins of up to 400-500% on certain medicines which are
already exorbitantly priced.
Need for capping:
While medicines constitute around 60% of the total out-of-pocket expenditure incurred by individuals on healthcare,

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rejig it. Way ahead: The government is now trying to narrow the trade margin gap and pass on the price benefit to consumers. It recommended the immediate bifurcation of the two major areas – medical education and practice of ethical conduct by medical professionals – so that they receive full attention. After incorporating suggestions. Sources: toi. Paper 2 Topic: statutory bodies. the government can no longer look the other way and has to exercise its constitutional authority and take decisive and exemplary action to restructure and revamp India’s regulatory system of medical education and practice. The panel recommended that the Act under which MCI was set up be scrapped and a new legislation be drafted at the earliest. Experts say trade margins also create a huge disparity in prices of medicine brands available in the market. which is certainly outdated. says Parliament panel The Parliamentary standing committee on health has called for a complete restructuring of the Medical Council of India (MCI). gives accreditation to medical schools. 1956.trade margins contribute to almost 20-25% of a medicine’s price. medicine prices of different brands are likely to come at par largely. Pharmaceutical companies often use this window to push their brands through retailers as well as doctors. Once trade margins are regulated. the proposal will take the shape of a Cabinet note and a final decision will be taken after that. The committee also observed that “the much needed reforms will have to be led by the central government” as “the MCI can no longer be entrusted with that responsibility in view of its massive failures”. grants registration to medical practitioners. The Indian drug retail market is currently pegged at over Rs 1 lakh crore annually. The report also said. Important observations and recommendations made by the committee: The committee observed that the whole focus of the MCI has been on licensing of medical colleges and ethics was completely lost out in this process.” The report noted that the MCI cannot be remedied according to the existing provisions of the Indian Medical Council Act. and monitors medical practice in India. The Council grants recognition of medical qualifications. MCI has failed. “If the medical education system has to be saved from total collapse. 2/9 . About MCI: The Medical Council of India (MCI) is the statutory body for establishing uniform and high standards of medical education in India. arguing that it has failed in its mandate as a regulator of medical education and profession.

chemicals and materials have received a great deal of attention as a sustainable alternative to decreasing the reliance on fossil fuels. Registration of doctors with recognized medical qualifications. 1956 that replaced the earlier Act. allowing various plastics to be made in an environmentally-friendly and sustainable manner. Researchers have developed metabolically engineered Escherichia coli strains to synthesise non-natural.developments and their applications and effects in everyday life. Computers.The Medical Council of India was first established in 1934 under the Indian Medical Council Act. nano-technology. Paper 3 Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT. Space. 1933. this research on the biological production of non-natural. robotics. heat. Recognition of foreign medical qualifications in India. Significance of this development: As climate change technology becomes more important. Scientists use micro-organisms to produce ‘green’ plastic Korean researchers have developed a unique biorefinery system to create non-natural polymers from natural sources. Background: In recent years. Recognition of medical qualifications granted by medical institutions in India. biomedically important polymers including PLGA or poly (lactic-co-glycolic acid) – previously considered impossible to obtain from bio-based materials. Accreditation of medical colleges. Paper 3 Topic: Science and Technology. high value polymers has a great impact on science and industry. Regulation of postgraduate medical education in medical colleges accredited by it. Important functions performed by the council: Establishment and maintenance of uniform standards for undergraduate medical education. useful chemicals or products such as plastics. lubricants. Keeping a directory of all registered doctors (called the Indian Medical Register). paints.. Renewable non-food biomass can potentially replace petrochemical raw materials to produce energy sources. biorefineries which transform non-edible biomass into fuel. bio- 3/9 . The Council was later reconstituted under the Indian Medical Council Act. Sources: toi. Sources: toi. power. fertilisers and vitamin capsules.

will be spread across Gaggal. Currently. The nerve centre of IRNSS. Jodhpur. Kavaratti. The data is important for a host of users. which is essential in navigation. Pune. What all services are provided? IRNSS would provide two types of services. ISRO is getting closer to completing the seven-spacecraft regional navigation system in space by April as planned. units that have instruments such as atomic clocks for keeping accurate time. The range monitoring IRIMS. With IRNSS almost up in orbit. one ISRO Navigation Centre and one Spacecraft Control Facility with its data communication network. namely PNT: information on position. Kolkata. Shillong. Among them are data receiving and processing centres. from the military to managers of air land and sea transport up to the man on the street looking to reach somewhere.420-crore IRNSS scheme. besides Bengaluru and Hassan. which was approved in May 2006. the ISRO Navigation Centre. ground centres get into place With IRNSS-1G slated to be launched in March this year. About Ground Segment of IRNSS: The ground segment. What is being done? ISRO is adding a back-up for it at Lucknow. Udaipur. which could eventually total 15 to 17. is slated to be launched on 11th March from Sriharikota. 1. A Space Control Facility each will be in Hassan Karnataka— where the Master Control Facility for communication satellites functions since many decades — and its alternative centre in Bhopal. About IRNSS: What is it? IRNSS is an independent regional navigation satellite system designed to provide position information in the Indian region and 1500 km around the Indian mainland. Four more centres providing different vital services are also coming up. 300 crore. How many more satellites to be launched? 4/9 . estimated to cost Rs. Mahendragiri and Port Blair. Bhopal. Goa. navigation and time. namely Standard Positioning Services available to all users and Restricted Services provided to authorised users. Navigation satellites provide three main data. the national space agency ISRO is quickly putting across cities the last pieces of ground-based support infrastructure of the system. IRNSS-1F. is part of the Rs. Dehradun. The sixth spacecraft. is at Byalalu on the outskirts of Bengaluru and is part of the 21 ground locations. Lucknow.technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights. 1 IRNSS Network Timing Centre. and those that generate and transmit navigation parameters and maintain the spacecraft in position all the time. the IRNSS ground segment is operational on a 24/7 basis through 13 IRIMS (Indian Range and Integrity Monitoring Stations.

As of now. Significance of IRNSS: Once fully operational. the National Space Agency is aiming to reduce the country’s dependence on foreign navigational systems such as the US Global Positioning System (GPS) and the Russian GLONASS. 5 satellites are launched out of total 7. Integration with mobile phones. Two more satellites will be launched by April 2016. Applications of IRNSS: Terrestrial. Disaster Management. Precise Timing. 5/9 . Vehicle tracking and fleet management. Aerial and Marine Navigation.

The case from the Marshall Islands has been on the agenda of the ICJ since the tiny archipelago in the Pacific Ocean lodged the case in 2014 seeking greater international attention to the issue of comprehensive test ban treaty. only the United States NAVSTAR Global Positioning System (GPS) and the Russian GLONASS are global operational GNSSs. and Japan are in the process of developing regional navigation systems. Background: This was in response to a question on the case that Marshall Islands from the Pacific Ocean region has lodged at the International Court of Justice against all the major nuclear states. Visual and voice navigation for drivers. especially since it suffered due to the nuclear tests conducted in its territory by the U. Government believes that given the country’s consistent and principled position on the NPT.Mapping and Geodetic data capture. France (DORIS). where Marshall Islands has at present instituted proceedings against India. 6/9 . No legal obligation to NPT. The European Union’s Galileo positioning system is a GNSS in initial deployment phase.S. Way ahead: India has sent a legal team to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague. Ever since. Indian diaspora. Terrestrial navigation aid for hikers and travelers. including India. contending breach of customary law obligations following from the Non-Proliferation Treaty. scheduled to be fully operational by 2020 at the earliest. Marshall Islands’ campaign has acquired stronger support. India had already made a written presentation to the ICJ reiterating that Marshall Islands’ argument regarding the obligations flowing from Article VI of the NPT is not valid before India which is not a signatory to the NPT. India. its provisions cannot be extended to India as a legal obligation. China is in the process of expanding its regional Beidou navigation system into the global Compass navigation system by 2020. says India Ahead of the Nuclear Security Summit. Other Global Navigational Systems: As of now. Paper 2 Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests. to which India is not a party. Sources: the hindu. the government recently reminded the world that India does not have any legal obligation to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). for possessing nuclear weapons and for not supporting a global test ban pact.

to extend the treaty indefinitely and without conditions. 7/9 . announced its withdrawal in 2003. Pakistan and South Sudan. 2. Even though the treaty was originally conceived with a limited duration of 25 years. The right to peacefully use nuclear technology. with an implicit balance among them: the three pillars are: 1. Israel. The NPT is interpreted as a three-pillar system. the United Kingdom. Russia. and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control. to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Several additional measures have been adopted to strengthen the NPT and the broader nuclear nonproliferation regime and make it difficult for states to acquire the capability to produce nuclear weapons.What the NPT says? Article VI of the NPT demands that each member state of the NPT undertake “negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament. Non-proliferation. and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament. The treaty is reviewed every five years in meetings called Review Conferences of the Parties to the Treaty of Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.” About NPT: What is it? It is an international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology. North Korea. Recognized nuclear-weapon states: The treaty recognizes five states as nuclear-weapon states: the United States. Who has not joined? Four UN member states have never joined the NPT: India. Other details: The NPT non-nuclear-weapon states agree never to acquire nuclear weapons and the NPT nuclear-weapon states in exchange agree to share the benefits of peaceful nuclear technology and to pursue nuclear disarmament aimed at the ultimate elimination of their nuclear arsenals. When it entered into force? The Treaty entered into force in 1970. by consensus. Disarmament 3. including the export controls of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the enhanced verification measures of the IAEA Additional Protocol. the signing parties decided. France. Sources: the hindu. which acceded to the NPT in 1985 but never came into compliance. Signatories: A total of 190 states have joined the Treaty. and China.

In 2013.Paper 2 Topic: RPA. would be immediately disqualified from holding membership of the House without being given three months’ time for appeal. involving elected representatives should be completed in a year. the Supreme Court passed an interim order that criminal trials. as was the case before. Paper 2 Topic: RPA. Right to vote is a statutory right granted to all citizens but many defence and paramilitary personnel posted in far-flung and border areas are not able to exercise it. especially those dealing with corruption and heinous offences. Should his disqualification be kept in abeyance till he is convicted? Background: The court has been tightening its grip on corruption in politics from 2013 when it first held that legislators. MLAs can be disqualified upon framing of charges The Supreme Court has decided to lay down the law on whether the country should even wait until a corrupt legislator is convicted to have him disqualified from Parliament or Assembly. Sources: the hindu. including e-voting facility. Constitution Bench to decide if MPs. to enable defence and paramilitary personnel to cast their ballot. SC asks Centre to explore e-voting for defence personnel The Supreme Court has asked the Centre to explore ways. the court found it unconstitutional that convicted persons could be disqualified from contesting elections but could continue to be Members of Parliament and State Legislatures once elected. convicted lawmakers would file an appeal in the higher court and continue in the House. Before this verdict. A three-judge Bench has referred to a Constitution Bench the question whether a legislator facing criminal trial should be disqualified at the very stage of framing of charges against him by the trial court. This order prevented lawmakers from sitting in the House as their cases dragged on. 8/9 . In March 2014. RPA: Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act deals with disqualification on conviction for certain offences: A person convicted of any offence and sentenced to imprisonment for varying terms under Sections 8 (1) (2) and (3) shall be disqualified from the date of conviction and shall continue to be disqualified for a further period of six years since his release. on conviction.

The Court has directed the Centre to come out with concrete suggestions within three months on how to improve the existing system of postal ballot available with defence personnel and whether e-voting could be introduced to them. Copyright (C) INSIGHTS ACTIVE LEARNING 9/9 . Sources: the hindu.