14.09.2018

The Indian papers have continued their comments on the worst economic crisis that the world had witnessed a decade back. Mammoth financial institutions turned to rubble in the aftermath of that apocalypse. Dailies have highlighted the need for an action plan to combat rising suicide especially among the youth. Indian press has hailed the ban imposed on a host of fixed dose combination drugs.

THE TIMES OF INDIA in an editorial SEPTEMBER BLUES writes, the world is observing the 10th anniversary of the global financial meltdown. The run-up to the financial denouement in 2008 had characteristics similar to every bubble. Common sense was abandoned and irrational home loans, sub-prime lending (loans at below interest rates) etc. surged. One kind of loan captured the essence of the era, “Ninja” loan (no income, no job or asset). On this shaky foundation, financial intermediaries and banks built complicated instruments that concealed rather than hedged risks. Central bankers were not unaware of the problem – Reserve Bank of India (RBI) was prepared for a crisis from January 2008. When this house of cards collapsed, tax money was used to bail out financial intermediaries, while ordinary people lost jobs, homes, and savings. Popular fury emanating from that phase has found a target in everything from immigration to trade. A decade on, uncertainty and friction are still abound in a similar vein.

THE HINDUSTAN TIMES in an editorial STOP SELF-HARM FROM BECOMING A HEALTH CRISIS says, an international report has highlighted that suicides were the leading cause of death among 15-39 year olds in India. On the very day, an 18 year engineering student became one of the 630 people who kill themselves each day in the country. The 18 year old left behind a note that said, “Engineering sucks.” Most suicides among young adults happen impulsively at a moment of crisis that breaks down their ability to deal with things such as relationship break-ups examination stress or financial problems. Of the estimated 230,314 persons who killed themselves across India in 2016, 71.2% of the women and 57.7% among men in 2016 were in this group. India needs adaptable mental health outreach programmes at the community level that can be guided by an overarching national suicide-prevention  strategy to prevent self-harm from becoming a public health crisis. The decriminalisation of attempted suicide under the Mental Health care Act, 2017 in May this year is a start, as it is nudging people to seek social and medical support instead of fearing persecution.

THE PIONEER in an editorial LETHAL DOSE observes, the intentions of the Government behind the immediate prohibition of manufacture, sale and consumption of about 328 fixed-dose combination (FDC) drugs cannot be doubted. It must be understood that the dangers associated with ingesting these medicines are real. There are about 2,000 FDCs in circulation in the Indian market as against 500 in the US which puts the issue in perspective. Unfair practices in the sector especially with pharma companies’ famed lobbying skills have taken a toll on the health of Indians. For instance, it is not uncommon for a lay person suffering from one or more ailments such as fever, body-ache cold and cough to take recourse to popping a single tablet, which is a combination of many drugs, to get rid of his/her ailment at one shot even if some elements in the FDC are not required by the patient. Such pill-popping habits over a prolonged period, the medical community has been warning, causes serious corollary damage to the patient. This is where FDCs pose the gravest danger. It is in public interest that the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare have initiated the ban. It has advised strict monitoring and regulation of other drugs. Our health comes before pharma companies’ bottom lines.

Script: Padam Singh, Air: News Analyst