Health Sector Current Affairs

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Delink drug prices from R&D costs: UN

The United Nations High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines has called for delinking drug prices from research and development (R&D) costs.

The report submitted by panel calls for human rights to be placed over intellectual property laws of pharmaceutical companies and incoherence between them should be narrowed.

Key Recommendations

  • All countries must freely be able to use flexibilities granted under TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) to access affordable medicines.
  • Countries that retaliate and threaten against generic drugs makers in different countries under the TRIPS Agreement must be forced to face significant sanctions.
  • Public health assessments must be done with every free trade negotiation to assess the possible impact on public health and creation of public health patentability criteria.
  • Governments engaged in bilateral and regional trade and investment treaties should ensure that these agreements do not include provisions that interfere with their obligations to fulfil the right to health.
  • Research institutions and universities that receive public funding must prioritize public health objectives over financial returns in their patenting and licensing practices.
  • Governments should increase their current levels of investments to in heath technology innovation to address unmet needs.


India, Kenya ink seven agreements to deepen and expand cooperation

India and Kenya have signed seven agreements to deepen and expand cooperation in a wide range of areas.

These agreements were signed in the presence of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in Nairobi.

PM Narendra Modi visited Kenya on the fourth and last leg of his four-nation tour of Africa viz. Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya.

Signed Agreements are

  • MoU on Defence Cooperation.
  • MoU in the field of space Technology partnership.
  • Revised Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA).
  • Bilateral agreement on exemption of Visa for holders of Diplomatic passports.
  • MoU on Cooperation in the field of National Housing Policy Development and Management.
  • MoU on Cooperation in the field of expertise sharing, standardisation and mutual trade between Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and Bureau of Kenya Standards (BKS).
  • Line of Credit (LoC) Agreement for US $29.95 million to Kenyan Government for upgradation of Rift Valley Textiles Factory (RIVATEX East Africa Limited) in Kenya.
  • LoC Agreement for US $15 million (first tranche of $30 million) to Kenya’s IDB Capital Limited for development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Kenya.

Besides, PM Narendra Modi also announced that

  • India will fully finance a cancer hospital in Kenya. India will also donate medicines for AIDS patients in Kenya.
  • India would provide concessional credit of 60 million dollars for power transmission project to Kenya.
  • India is ready to join hands with Kenya for developing efficient and affordable health care system to make it an important regional hub for health services in East African region.


India, Papua New Guinea sign four agreements

India and Papua New Guinea have signed four Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) in various sectors to boost bilateral cooperation.

The MoUs were signed in the presence of the visiting President Pranab Mukherjee and the Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’ Neil in Port Moresby, capital of Papua New Guinea.

Signed MoUs are

  • MoU regarding $100 Million Credit Line: India will provide a Line of Credit of 100 million dollars for specific projects in Transport and infrastructure sectors.
  • MoU in the field of Health Care and Medical Science: It covers areas such as Public Health, Health Research, Human Resources and Training, Medical Services, Disease Control and Prevention, Drug and Health Care Technologies and Environmental Health.
  • MoU in the field of Agriculture: It was singed between the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and PNG University of Technology, Lae, Papua New Guinea. It delineates all round cooperation in agricultural research and training.
  • MoU in the field of IT: It envisages establishment of a Centre of Excellence in Information Technology in Papua New Guinea.