💊 WHO calls for accelerated anaemia action; India gets world-first oral cholera LDPE unidose vaccine; Cut patent, cut price
#340 | Bird flu is back in France; Marriages are back in China; Dengue is back in Brazil
Hello there, dear reader. Welcome back to The Kable. Did you have a good weekend?
India sure had reason to celebrate as the world’s first and only oral cholera vaccine in a low-density polyethylene (LDPE) unidose pack was launched in the country. Produced by India’s TechInvention Lifecare and South Korea’s Eubiologics Co., Euvichol-Plus was recently approved by the country’s Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation and is extremely useful, especially in emergency situations as it minimises issues of breakage, storage, transport, and distribution.
Also, in India, drugs going off-patent will have their ceiling price reduced to 50% of current prices, as notified by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority. The earlier option of allowing companies to keep charging the same amount until generics enter the market is being abandoned. J&J’s TB drug is first in line to be hit by this move.
Over in Korea, the government has announced its medium- and long-term strategic plan to fight off emerging infectious diseases. This includes 24 projects across five major areas – surveillance and prevention, preparedness and response, recovery, infrastructure expansion, and R&D.
China, meanwhile, is launching pilot projects in over 20 cities with the aim of promoting a “new-era” culture of marriage and childbearing. This move comes in addition to tax incentives, housing subsidies, and free or subsidized education for having a third child. In March, political advisors had even proposed that single women should have access to facilities to freeze their eggs and get IVF treatment.
France had been experiencing a pleasant lull in bird flu activity. No outbreaks had been recorded since March 14. But now, in May, 21 outbreaks, mainly in ducks, have been detected in southwestern France. Flocks close to affected farms will have to be culled; sanitary buffer zones have been expanded; the country is planning vaxx camps for its domestic avian populations.
In Saudi Arabia, 17 pharma firms have been slapped with penalties by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority for violations ranging from non-compliance with a provision of registered pharmaceutical preparations to the local market to failing to inform the authority about expected supply shortages or interruptions.
In Brazil, there have been over 201,000 dengue diagnoses in São Paulo from January to April this year. As compared to the same period last year, this is a 13% jump. Unlucky number. Not that we care about superstitions.
And finally, the pandemic seems not to care about the WHO’s declaration that it is over. Even as Covid cases and deaths are on a downhill slope globally, cases are surging in parts of Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific. In the former region, hotspots include India, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar and the Maldives, while Vietnam, Mongolia, Laos, Australia, Japan, and South Korea are driving the rise in the Western Pacific.