THE HINDU Daily Editorial Hunt-29th February

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IASbhai Editorial Hunt

To be the best, you must be able to handle the worst.-Wilson Kanadi
Dear Aspirants
IASbhai Editorial Hunt is an initiative to dilute major Editorials of leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Here we choose two editorials on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC MAINS 2020.

EDITORIAL 21:“Regional bonding”

       SOURCES:   THE HINDU EDITORIAL/EDITORIALS FOR UPSC CSE MAINS 2020

      HEADLINES:

Regional bonding

      CENTRAL THEME:

India needs to engage with its neighbors for the realisation of its global ambitions

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2:3:International Relations:Trade

      MAINS QUESTION:

Integrating South east Asia is a dubious challenge for Asian economies. Comment -(GS 3)

      LEARNING: 

Author has refered to former Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s speech at a conclave last week and justified a prompt role of what economies can do for a better integration tomoorrow !

      INTRODUCTION: 

At a time when India has more or less shut down all conversations on the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and walked away from the ASEAN-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), former Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s push for regional economic integration and for India-Pakistan dialogue should be studied carefully by New Delhi.

      BODY: 

REGIONAL INTEGRATION

STANDSTILL ISSUES:

India-Pakistan tensions are bringing economic integration within the SAARC region to a “standstill”, explaining that the original purpose of the South Asian group was to build a platform where bilateral issues could be set aside in the interest of regional growth.

Decrying the lack of economic integration in South Asia, and the failure of SAARC, as well as BIMSTEC (which includes Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand), to engender more intra-regional trade.

An even smaller sub-grouping of four countries with complementary economies: India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Thailand, to begin the process of reducing tariffs and demolishing non-tariff barrier regimes.

When it comes to the intra-regional share of total trade, SAARC and BIMSTEC languish behind groupings such as ASEAN, EU and MERCOSUR.

ROAD MAP

The Sri Lankan leader also suggested that with India’s leadership, a more integrated South Asian region would be better equipped to negotiate for better terms with RCEP so as not to be cut out of the “productivity network” in Asia, and envisioned an Economic Integration Road Map to speed up the process.

The government has made it clear that talks with Pakistan are strictly off the table, and that a SAARC summit, which has not been held since 2014, is unlikely to be convened anytime soon.

PROTECTIONISM

Second, the government, which has taken a protectionist turn on multilateral trade pacts, is relying more on direct bilateral deals with countries rather than overarching ones that might expose Indian markets to flooding by Chinese goods.

For any regional sub-grouping in South Asia to flourish, it is India that will have to make the most concessions given the vast trade deficits India’s neighbours have at present.

      IASbhai Windup: 

However, the overall projection that India’s global reach will be severely constrained unless it is integrated with its neighbours, and tensions with Pakistan are resolved, cannot be refuted(disprove).

India needs to be more accommodative for the realisation of its ambitions.

 

 

EDITORIAL 22:“State lethargy amidst cough syrup poisoning

       SOURCES:   THE HINDU EDITORIAL/EDITORIALS FOR UPSC CSE MAINS 2020

 

Dinesh Thakur

The writer is a public health activist and was the whistleblower in the Ranbaxy case

      HEADLINES:

State lethargy amidst cough syrup poisoning

      CENTRAL THEME:

A national recall of Coldbest-PC, the medicine behind the death of 12 children in Jammu, is needed

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Pharma Industry:DCGI

      MAINS QUESTION:

Mass glycol poisoning event  in India has raised the alarm for drug sellers as well as practitioners. Evaluate and provide your opinion on how to tackle such drug menace. -(GS 3)

      LEARNING: 

This is a beautiful article explaining why and how recalling a drug in India is so difficult. Author initiates the recent issue into news-‘cough syrup (Coldbest-PC)’.A quality framework and guidelines process has to be mentioned for recalling any drug which has ill consequences on the larger masses.

      INTRODUCTION: 

A few days ago, we learnt that 12 children died in Udhampur district of Jammu due to poisoned cough syrup (Coldbest-PC). More are fighting for their life in a hospital. A team of doctors at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh, attributed the deaths to the presence of diethylene glycol in the cough syrup which was consumed by all the dead children.
Diethylene glycol is an anti-freezing agent that causes acute renal failure in the human body followed by paralysis, breathing difficulties and ultimately death.

      BODY: 

This is the fourth mass glycol poisoning event in India that has been caused due to a pharmaceutical drug.

  • In 1973, there was a similar incident at the Children’s Hospital, Egmore in Chennai that caused the deaths of 14 children.
  • In 1986, similar poisoning at Mumbai’s J.J. Hospital caused the deaths of 14 patients who were otherwise on the path to recovery.
  • In 1998, 33 children died in two hospitals located in New Delhi due to similar poisoning.

In all three cases, the manufacturer of the suspect cough syrup, due to negligence or human error, failed to detect and contain the level of diethylene glycol in the syrup, thereby causing poisoning of the patients who consumed it.

TRACKING THE SOLD BOTTLES

There will be plenty of time later to ascertain the cause and prosecute the guilty but the immediate concern for doctors, pharmacists and the drug regulators should be to prevent any more deaths.

The only way to do so is to account for each and every bottle of the poisoned syrup that has ever been sold in the Indian market and stop patients from consuming this drug any further.

Any patient who has consumed even a spoon of the syrup should then immediately be referred to a hospital for treatment.

According to the information available on the website of the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA), in 1937, when the United States faced a similar situation with glycol poisoning, its entire field force of 239 inspectors and chemists were assigned to the task of tracking down every single bottle of the drug.

Even if a patient claimed to have thrown out the bottle, the investigators scoured the street until they found the discarded bottle.

This effort was accompanied by a publicity blitz over radio and television.

We do not see such public health measures being undertaken here; authorities are simply not communicating the seriousness of the issue to the general public.

At most, the authorities in Himachal Pradesh (H.P.), who are responsible for oversight of the manufacturer of this syrup, have made general statements that they have ordered the withdrawal of the drug from all the other States where it was marketed.

However, there is no transparency in the recall process and information about recalls and batch numbers is not being communicated through authoritative channels.

There is no public announcement by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI), which is responsible for overall regulation of the entire Indian market.

The suspect product, although manufactured in H.P., has been sold across the country.

The website of the DCGI, which is supposed to communicate drug alerts and product recalls, has no mention of Coldbest-PC as being dangerous as of this writing.

NEED FOR A RECALL POLICY

One of the key reasons why the DCGI and state drug authorities have been so sloppy is because unlike other countries, India has not notified any binding guidelines or rules on recalling dangerous drugs from the market.

The 59th report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health as well as the World Health Organization (in its national regulatory assessment) had warned the DCGI on the lack of a national recall framework in India.

A set of recall guidelines was drafted in 2012 but never notified into law.

While a national recall of this adulterated medicine is the immediate need, the administration also needs to quickly identify which other pharmaceutical companies have received the spurious ingredient that was supplied to the manufacturer in H.P. from a trader in Chennai.

It is very likely that the trader in question marketed the same ingredient to other pharmaceutical companies, who, like the manufacturer at the centre of the present scandal, may have failed to test it for its identity and purity.

It is important for regulatory enforcement to raid and seize the records of the trader in Chennai and verify its sales.

      IASbhai Windup: 

As of today, we have little to no information on whether any of this is happening.

The lackadaisical (carelessly lazy) response of drug regulators in India is not surprising.

It is the result of a larger lethargy and arrogance that is emblematic of the babudom(uncountable) which is responsible for keeping us safe from unethical practices of pharmaceutical companies.


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