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India Aims To Improve Review, Regulation Of Clinical Research, Compensation

“Following criticism over a spate of patient deaths from adverse events during clinical trials, India has begun tightening up rules for clinical research and compensation as well as expanding its pool of medical experts,” SciDev.Net reports. A health ministry official said the ministry would submit to Parliament amendments to existing laws with the aim of strengthening the approval process for clinical trials, according to the news service. In addition, the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) is expanding its pool of experts, “has asked ethics committees for tougher inspection regimes,” and in August “issued guidelines on compensation to be paid in case of clinical trials-related death or injury,” the news service notes. According to SciDev.Net, “These steps follow the report of a parliamentary committee, in May 2012, which found that a large number of imported drugs had been cleared without trials,” “includ[ing] drugs that had failed to be cleared for use in the parent countries” (Sreelata, 9/12).

Nearly One-Third Of Under-Five Children Malnourished In Southern Afghanistan, Survey Shows

Approximately one-third of children under the age of five in southern Afghanistan, about one million, have acute malnutrition, “with a level of deprivation similar to that found in famine zones, a government survey has found, despite the hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign aid that has been poured into the region,” the Guardian reports. The U.N.-supported “Afghanistan Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) found 29.5 percent of children are suffering from acute malnutrition there,” the newspaper states, noting that a level of more than 30 percent is one indicator of famine, as are death rates and families’ access to food.

New UNICEF Publications Show Universal Health Coverage Achievable Through Social Protection Measures

“Two newly released UNICEF publications demonstrate that while reaching universal health coverage (UHC) is possible in most countries, this requires a comprehensive social protection system of which health insurance is a crucial component,” according to this post on the UHC Forward blog. A recent UNICEF study “finds that even in middle and low-income countries that have adopted a formal policy of universal health coverage … many socio-economic barriers to access persist,” the blog reports, adding, “It is for this reason that the study has been framed in the broader approach recommended by UNICEF’s first global Social Protection Strategic Framework, which stresses the importance of developing and strengthening integrated social protection systems” (O’Connell, 6/4).

CNBC.com Examines Counterfeit Pharmaceuticals In Special Report

In a special report, CNBC.com examines “the world of counterfeit pharmaceuticals, from the dangers they pose and where they’re made, to what is being done to combat them.” The news service notes that “[i]n some countries, counterfeit prescription drugs comprise as much as 70 percent of the drug supply and have been responsible for thousands of deaths in some of the world’s most impoverished nations, according to the World Health Organization (WHO),” and adds that counterfeit drugs also affect people in developed nations (Toscano, 10/4).

Nature News Examines Controversy Surrounding Indian HPV Vaccine Trial

After four teenage girls involved in a clinical trial in India testing vaccines for human papillomavirus (HPV) died last year, the study “threatens to have a dual legacy: inflaming unfounded fears about a lifesaving vaccine and raising new questions about the management of medical research in the country,” Nature News reports.

Indians Living Longer But With More Disabilities, Study Says

Wall Street Journal: Study: Longer, But Not Healthier, Life in India “Indians, on average, now live almost eight years longer than they did in 1990, but the extra years are giving more time for ailments that reduce quality of life to develop. That’s the finding of a study published [last]…

South Africa Faces Challenges Implementing Universal Health Coverage

Center for Strategic & International Studies’ “Smart Global Health”: The Arduous Path to Universal Health Coverage in South Africa Richard Downie, deputy director and fellow in the CSIS Africa Program, discusses South Africa’s efforts to implement a National Health Insurance (NHI) program and the challenges facing the country as it…

Landmark Case Could Help Advance Women’s Health Care Rights In Uganda

The Conversation: How the death of two Ugandan mothers is helping entrench the right to health care Moses Mulumba, executive director at the Center for Health, Human Rights & Development and lecturer at Ugandan Christian University “…In what has turned into a landmark case [to hold the Ugandan government accountable…

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