Dr Reddy's launches asthma drug in US market HYDERABAD: Dr Reddy's Laboratories has said it has launched Montelukast Sodium tablets, used for treating asthma and allergies, in the US market after getting approval from the American health regulator. The company received approval from US Food and Drug Administration for Montelukast Sodium tablets and Montelukast Sodium chewable tablets in strengths ranging from 4 mg to 10 mg, Dr Reddy's Laboratories said in a statement. The Hyderabad-based firm's products are generic versions of Merck & Co's Singulair tablets and chewable tablets. According to IMS Health data, Singulair tablets and chewable tablets brand had sales of about USD 3.6 billion and USD 1.14 billion, respectively, in the US market for the year ended March 2012. "Dr Reddy's Montelukast Sodium tablets in 10 mg and Montelukast Sodium chewable tablets in 4 mg and 5 mg are available in bottle counts of 30 and 90," the company said. -PTI
Officials confirm first UT West Nile case of 2012 SALT LAKE CITY: State public health officials say they've confirmed Utah's first human case of West Nile virus this year. Officials said that the person who tested positive is a Box Elder County resident between the ages of 18 and 39. West Nile symptoms include high fever, a severe headache and stiff neck, disorientation and confusion. While the mosquito-borne illness is rare in humans, Utah has counted 327 cases and eight deaths from the virus since 2003. -AP
Potassium iodide tablets being distributed in Pa. HARRISBURG, Pa.: The Pennsylvania Department of Health is once again providing free potassium iodide tablets to help residents of the commonwealth prepare for public health emergencies involving nuclear facilities. People who live, work or attend school within a 10-mile radius of the state's five nuclear power plants can get the tablets, which can help protect the thyroid gland against harmful radioactive iodine. The tablets will be distributed at 14 locations statewide, or can be obtained at state, county or municipal health agencies. -AP
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Obama signs bill for Camp Lejeune water victims RALEIGH, N.C.: President Barack Obama has signed a bill promising health benefits for Marines and families who were exposed to contaminated water at a North Carolina Marine base for decades. Details on page 44
HCA probe shines light on chest pain over treatment CHICAGO: An investigation into one of the nation's biggest hospital chains is refocusing attention on concerns about over treatment for chest pain. Many doctors are unclogging arteries to treat the pain, providing quick relief. However, studies have shown medicine is a safer and cheaper alternative for patients whose heart disease isn't lifethreatening. That research has changed thinking about the wisdom of routinely doing the artery-opening procedures called angioplasties. But experts say money and uncertainty over individual patients' risks are among reasons doctors have been slower to change their ways. The Nashville-based hospital chain, HCA Holdings Inc., said that investigators want information about heart procedures performed at some of its 163 hospitals. A New York Times story suggests some patients got needless angioplasties and stents.
Patients often want the quicker fix, and Yale University cardiologist Harlan Krumholz says many patients mistakenly think elective angioplasties will do a better job of keeping them alive About 7 million angioplasties are done each year, and almost half of them are elective, performed on patients with stable chest pain. Evidence suggests the numbers haven't dropped dramatically
since a landmark 2007 study said drug treatment worked just as well at preventing heart attacks and related deaths. An angioplasty can cost $20,000 and usually involves in-
serting a small mesh stent to keep arteries propped open. Often an overnight hospital stay is needed. Drug treatment may take a few months to relieve pain and often requires several medicines, including aspirin and statins, but most have generic versions costing hundreds of dollars a year, not thousands. Patients often want the quicker fix, and Yale University cardiologist Harlan Krumholz says many patients mistakenly think elective angioplasties will do a better job of keeping them alive. Doctors may disagree with the studies and recommend angioplasties, but they are obliged ``to explain to patients that their opinion is at odds with what the evidence is,'' Krumholz said. According to the New York Times, citing internal HCA documents, some of the hospital chain's patients got invasive treatment even though they had no significant heart disease. Cont’d on page 44
Brain death certification key to organ transplant THIRUVANATHPURAM: Early identification of brain dead patients in critical care units and mandatory certification of brain death in all government and private hospitals by neuro-surgeons will be crucial for the State's Deceased Donor Organ Transplantation program to take off, a team of doctors and transplant coordinators from MultiOrgan Harvesting Aid Network (MOHAN) Foundation, one of the key facilitators for Kerala's multi-organ transplant program, has pointed out. The State government has already issued a GO in February this year, making certification of brain death mandatory in government and private hospitals in the State. The GO also clearly details the procedures to be adopted by doctors for the declaration of brain death. However, in Kerala, despite the enabling legislation, the reluctance on the part of doctors
to certify brain death and communicate this clearly to the relatives of the patient seems to be the main hurdle in the way of promoting deceased donor organ transplantation. At a workshop on deceased donor transplantation program held here - The third in a series of workshops being organized by the
Transplant coordination counselors thus have a huge role to play in communicating the event of brain death to the patient's family and then giving them the option of organ donation. Health Principal Secretary Rajeev Sadanandan said that it was time Kerala moved ahead with the implementation of the program as
Experts pointed out that mandatory certification of brain death was a necessary event to enhance the scope of deceased donor transplantation in Kerala Department of Health and the Department of Neurology as the State prepares to launch its own Deceased Donor Organ Transplantation program - experts pointed out that mandatory certification of brain death was a necessary event to enhance the scope of deceased donor transplantation in Kerala.
all enabling legislations had been put in place by the government. Already five GOs covering various aspects of organ donation had been issued by the government. "The institutions which are already doing the transplantation program should take the lead and
do some mentoring so that other hospitals are also encouraged to follow. We have adopted the Tamil Nadu model almost in its entirety in launching our own program but the operational guidelines will have to be changed to suit the local-specific situations - about which we will know only when we start the program," he said. Joint effort needed Dr. Sunil Shroff of Mohan Foundation pointed out that the deceased donor transplant program had to be a joint effort of both the government and private sector and corporate hospitals. Health Minister V.S. Sivakumar launched the web portal 'Mrithasanjeevani' or Kerala Network for Organ Sharing (www.knos.org.in), the registry of all potential organ recipients in the State, one of the crucial elements to ensure transparency in allocation of harvested organs.