The Compound Eye – Smoke, Drugs and Diet

e-cigarettes: To ban or not ban? 

Last week US health officials reported what could be the country’s first death linked to vaping. The officials said that an adult patient in Illinois, who contracted a serious lung disease after vaping, had died and that they considered it the first death in the US linked to e-cigarettes. The debate on whether e-cigarettes should be banned or not has been on-going in multiple countries. Reports suggest that the Indian Union Health Ministry is preparing an ordinance banning the production, import, distribution and sale of electronic cigarettes in India. Banning e-cigarettes is one of the 100-day goals of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. (Read more)

Substandard medical drugs 

Katherine Eban’s book Bottle of Lies has renewed public focus on flawed manufacturing policies and poor regulatory oversight that result in substandard medical drugs. In recent news, the FDA has handed over an F483 (this is the worst review that FDA can give a drug manufacturer) to Dr Reddy’s Laboratories for its manufacturing facility. This is the 5th F483 given to Dr Reddy’s over the last 3 years.

In the recent past, many Indian drug manufacturers have received various levels of warnings from the FDA. This raises a concern on the kind of drugs these companies make, a majority of which may be consumed by Indian consumers. This concern and the brief observations alluded to in Eban’s book of regulatory lapses demand questions of India’s drug regulator.

In the backdrop of these events, the CBI has arrested Dr. Naresh Sharma, Deputy Drug Controller (I) at Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) headquarters on August 16 on corruption charges. (Read more)

Clinical Trial Networks and Strengthening Clinical Trial Capacity: 

DBT has announced a request for proposals (RFP) for the following projects:

RFP 1: To establish Clinical Trial Networks (CTNs) for hospital-based trial in specialties of Diabetology, Ophthalmology, Rheumatology and Oncology. Institutions that apply will require to have infrastructure for patient-based clinical trials – hospitals and public/private medical should be able to apply (Pg 13-17) (Read more)

Meanwhile, here is some diet-related news:

Another benefit of restricting diet? A team led by Dr. Arnab Mukhopadhyay from the NII, has demonstrated in C. elegans that diet-induced stress during early development delays the deterioration of endoplasmic reticulum later in life, thus delaying ageing and increasing longevity.

Yet another benefit of restricting diet? The burning of the Amazon rainforest. Not the most intuitive connection. While the wildfires raging in the Amazon rainforest may constitute an “international crisis,” they are hardly an accident. The vast majority of the fires have been set by loggers and ranchers to clear land for cattle. Countries are now floating the idea of banning beef imports from Brazil – currently the world’s largest beef exporter – to help save the burning of the Amazon.

Microplastics in water are okay? This one seems counter-intuitive. But according to WHO, there is no evidence that microplastics in water are a health hazard to humans. Critics suggest that this assessment is based on a limited study. The WHO argues that more comprehensive and long-term data would help, but current focus on microplastics may distract water suppliers and regulators from removing microbial pathogens, such as those causing deadly diarrheal diseases. Doesn’t that sound flimsy?