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This media ink is just a blotch!

May 9, 2012

The MINT has really done a number on us today (May 9, 2012). Two items have small print that calls into question the newspaper’s editorial understanding of what is going on in India in the healthcare space.

In a huge double-page article on hospital infections and bacterial resistance to them (a BLOOMBERG piece, written by foreign journalists with help from Indians and even a South African), there are statements that imply that the rampant use of antibiotics, the result of which is resistance and bacterial mutation, comes from the easy and “cheap” availability of generic brands made by Indian manufacturers. These guys have made them so affordable that they are used indiscriminately. Does this sound like an intelligent argument? The newspaper/writers are offering the view that affordability and misuse go hand in hand. This is false and unacceptable. Antibiotics are not over the counter drugs. They are prescribed by GPs/Consultants/Specialists and Super Specialists, a group of intelligent, responsible people, we hope, see the issue of misuse as their responsibility as well. Hospital acquired drug resistant infections cannot possibly be linked to this situation as the writers try to do. So the argument is that because antibiotics are cheap and affordable and because the doctors prescribe them indiscriminately, hospitals cannot really do anything to control infections that are drug resistant. Hygiene, inadequately sterilized equipment and general negligence are mentioned in passing. Poverty and cheap antibiotics do not cause bacterial mutation as the shocking statement at the end of the article states. Carelessness and irresponsibility do. The same doctors and experts who are  raising the alarm in India are part of the problem. And now they need to take the responsibility to find the solution.  This article under the guise of analysis is probably the worst way to fill newspaper space.

The second piece is a leader that talks about compulsory patenting and why that is not good for “innovation” . More on this later in another post.

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From → General Health

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