CCI imposes penalty on Chemist and Druggists Association in Goa

Competition Commission of India imposed a penalty of Rs10,62,062/- on Chemist and Druggists Association, Goa for indulging in anti-competitive practices


The Competition Commission of India (‘the Commission’) has found the Chemist and Druggists Association, Goa (CDAG) to be in continued contravention of the provisions of the Competition Act, 2002 (‘the Act’). Observing that the case involved continued contravention and utmost disrespect to the Commission’s earlier order, the Commission imposed a penalty calculated at the rate of 10% of the average receipts of CDAG amounting to Rs10,62,062/- (Rupees ten lakhs sixty two thousand and sixty two rupees only). The penalty is to be deposited within 60 days of receipt of the order.


In an earlier case [MRTP-C-127/2009/DGIR (4/28)], the Commission found CDAG to be in contravention of the Act and thereafter passed an order under section 27 of the Act on 11 June 2012 imposing a penalty of Rs2 lakh on CDAG. In a subsequent complaint filed by M/s Xcel Healthcare, it was brought to the notice of the Commission that CDAG was restraining pharmaceutical companies such as M/s Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Limited and M/s Wockhardt Limited from doing business with non-authorised stockists and thereby not complying with the order of the Commission. The Commission took suo-moto cognizance and ordered the Director General to investigate the matter.


Following detailed investigation, the Commission found that CDAG was indulging in anti-competitive practices in complete disregard to the Commission order dated 11 June 2012. It was found that CDAG was continuing to exercise control on the supply chain through which drugs and medicines are made available in the market through the practice of requirement of LOC/NOC prior to appointment of stockists by pharmaceutical companies without having any legal or statutory authority in this respect.


Further the Commission also found that CDAG forced pharmaceutical companies to follow its mandate by threatening the other stockists in Goa to stop taking supplies or suspend receiving supplies from them till such time they stopped supplies to the unauthorised stockists such as M/s Xcel Healthcare.


9 names for public sector bank CMD posts scrapped

The government has scrapped all the nine names in two panels headed by RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan have been scrapped, a new appointment process to be drafted.


The Ministry of Finance (MoF), announced yesterday, that 9 prospective appointtees to CMDs that were put together to head various public sector banks, have been scrapped. This was done following a report by a committee the Government constituted, consisting of the Secretary (Expenditure), Secretary (School Education) and Governor, Reserve Bank of India (RBI), among others.


These appointees were sent for clearance to the MoF, to head Bank of Baroda, Canara Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce, United Bank and Vijaya Bank.


“After receipt of the report of the Committee, the Government has decided to cancel the current selection process of CMDs/EDs of Public Sector Banks (PSBs). As a result, eight posts of CMDs and fourteen posts of EDs would require to be filled-up de novo,” the MoF's release said.


The issue of corruption at the head of public sector banks has come up time and again, most notably when the Syndicate Bank chairman and managing directo, SK Jain was arrested on charges of corruption. Again, rising NPAs and indiscriminate lending has not inspired confidence in bank heads.


The MoF is looking at this action with the objective of restoring confidence in the banks and their functioning. “The Government has decided that a fresh process for selection would have to be implemented for filling-up these existing vacancies wherein the Governor, RBI or his nominee of the rank of Deputy Governor should be a part of the selection process. The Government would fill-up all these vacancies expeditiously. The Government has also decided to finalise a new process for selection of CMDs/EDs for all future vacancies,” the MoF statement said.


CMD posts have been lying vacant for a long time now and the government has promised to fill up these posts, of 8 CMDs and 14 Executive Directors, expeditiously.


Pulse Beat

Medical developments from around the world


Ebola Spreads by Contact, Sneezing and Coughing

We do not know, as yet, how Ebola spreads. With more patients dying from the disease, empirical information is growing. Recent studies have shown that the spread of Ebola could resemble ‘flu-like illnesses’. This will make it more difficult to control the disease. There is also a suspicion that Ebola could have begun as a man-made virus, invented for germ warfare.


Whole Turmeric Helps Regenerate Damaged Brain Cells

Turmeric is one of the many powerful therapeutic agents known in ancient Indian medicine. The pharmaceuticals industry now wants to get some extracts of the plant and patent it to make a drug. Following the Western model of taking the active ingredient to sell it as a drug, the industry was after curcumin in turmeric. But their efforts failed.


Now, a new study published in the Journal of Stem Cell Research and Therapy shows that whole turmeric extract contains, in addition to curcumin, a fat-soluble portion, called aromatic tumerone, and many other active ingredients. These have been shown to regenerate damaged brain cells in vitro and in vivo. In the article, titled, “Aromatic-turmerone induces neural stem cell proliferation in vitro and in vivo”, German researchers evaluated the effects of this turmeric-derived compound on neural stem cells (NSCs)—the subgroup of brain cells capable of continuous self-renewal required for brain repair. Brain cell repair was thought to be impossible, until recently.


When Indian laboratories started researching Ayurvedic compounds, they started by looking at the active ingredients and then studying if they have any effect on disease, they called it the ‘Golden Triangle Research’. Even then, I had objected and had explained to some of the leaders in the field that they were barking up the wrong tree. Herbal drugs work as a whole and not in bits and pieces. Reductionism is the bane of Western medicine. Why we want to import Western methods to Ayurvedic drugs is beyond my comprehension.


Science Could Also Be Wrong!

A paper published in Nature reported that ordinary mouse cells could be transformed into pluri-potent stem cells by a simple process of keeping them in an acidic environment. It was later discovered that the study’s results could not be replicated. A similar study conducted earlier, by a group of cancer specialists, had shown that 47 of the 53 studies on cancer could not be replicated. Interestingly, all those studies were funded by the pharmaceuticals industry. The comment by the editors of Nature, when they retracted the paper, is worth noting:


Underlying these issues, often, is sloppiness, whether in the handling of data, in their analysis, or in the inadequate keeping of laboratory notes. As a result, the conclusions of such papers can seem misleadingly robust. Another contributory factor lies in selection bias behind the data presented, whether implicit because the experiment was not randomized or blinded, or explicit in the deliberate selection of data that, usually with honest good intentions, are judged to be representative.”


This assessment is far short of the truth. Greed for money, boosting citation indexes and awards are the main reasons that science has gone astray. In fact, this kind of science can only be called pseudoscience.


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