Glenmark gets USFDA nod for hypertension tablets

The company has 72 generic products authorised for distribution in the US market

Glenmark Pharmaceuticals today said its subsidiary Glenmark Generics Inc had received final approval from the US health regulator for Verapamil tablets, which are used for treating hypertension.

"Today's approval completes Glenmark's marketing portfolio for the Verapamil extended-release product line," Glenmark said in a statement. The US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) approval is for Verapamil extended release tablets in the strengths of 120mg and 180mg. The company had earlier received approval on the 240mg dosage in September 2009, Glenmark said.

Verapamil extended-release tablets are generics of Isoptin SR tablets of Ranbaxy.

"Verapamil extended release tablets are indicated in the management of essential hypertension and for the 12-month period ending March 2011, achieved sales of $52 million, according to IMS Health," it added.

The company has 72 generic products authorised for distribution in the US market and has over 35 ANDAs filed with the USFDA which are pending approval.

Shares of Glenmark were trading at Rs331.25 in afternoon trade on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), up 0.41% from the previous close.


Bank employees to go ahead with nationwide strike tomorrow as another round of talks fail

Day-long protest involves over 10 lakh employees of public and private banks, foreign, co-operative and rural banks. ATMs also likely to be nonfunctional 

Bank employees will go ahead with their one-day strike on Friday, in protest against banking sector reforms, after another round of talks with the government failed to make any headway.

Ravindra Shetty, convenor of the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), which has called the protest action, said today, "We are going ahead with the strike tomorrow. Yesterday, we had a meeting in Delhi, where the government did not give any favourable response to our demands. Instead it sent some junior officers to negotiate. The strike is on tomorrow."

More than 10 lakh employees and officers with public and private sector banks, foreign banks as well as co-operative and regional rural banks would join the strike called by UBFU, an umbrella organisation of nine all-India unions in the banking industry. ATMs are also likely to be nonfunctional.

The unions are opposed to privatisation of banks and banking sector reforms on the grounds that bank jobs are being outsourced. They have also demanded the scrapping of recommendations of the AK Khandelwal Committee which proposed sweeping changes in the functioning of public sector banks, particularly in the matter of recruitment and compensation. Other pending issues include pension and regulated working hours for officers.

The unions say that in the name of banking reforms the government is trying to reduce its equity share in public sector banks and allowing the increase of private capital in these banks.  

The government is also pursuing a policy of consolidation and merger of public sector banks which is totally unwarranted and would in no way help to strengthen the banks.

The issues and complaints are listed in a 21-point charter that has been discussed at various levels, but without much success. There have been talks also with the financial services secretary and the chairman of the Indian Banks' Association.


How the railways turned student-friendly, after a crusader’s effort

Decision to accept college IDs by the Indian Railways for students came after persuasion by a passenger

Recently, Moneylife wrote about how 18-year-old Bhadresh Wamja's persistence led to mandatory stock disclosure for fair price in Gujarat (See: 18-year-old's persistence leads to mandatory stock disclosure for fair price shops in Gujarat). He is one of the many aam-admis, who, without any clout, have managed to bring around significant changes in absurd laws that affect our everyday lives.

One such crusader is Gopinath Prabhu, whose intervention on behalf of his fellow railway passengers have made the railway authorities amend their rules to include college IDs in the list of recognised ID proofs required for an e-ticket. Earlier, the railways specified only six government IDs, which most students did not posses and so were frequently harassed and fined for not carrying a valid ID proof against their e-tickets.

Thanks to Mr Prabhu's letters to IRCTC (the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation), the railways took notice of the harassment faced by students carrying e-tickets as a result of these unviable rules. After he wrote to the IRTC, the authorities included college IDs and nationalised bank pass books with a photograph in the list of acceptable IDs, which the students could easily produce.

"I wrote to IRCTC and marked a copy to railway ministers and asked them to suggest a way. How can any student travel on an e-ticket when it almost impossible to get the government IDs? Finally they relented and changed the rule to add up college/school IDs and passbooks of nationalised banks with photograph," Mr Prabhu said. The rule came into effect on 15 June 2010.

Mr Prabhu was travelling to Goa last year, and met a group of students from BITS (Pilani) who where on their way back to college after their holidays. All of these students carried e-tickets. As they were under-age, they did not possess a driving license, voter ID, PAN card or other government IDs. Soon, the ticket checker appeared.

"The TT went on imposing fines on them as they were rendered ticketless as they had none of the ID proofs mandated. This despite they showing their student ID cards, that too from a reputed institute," Mr Prabhu said. In his compartment was a student, who was fined Rs1,000, as he did not have a 'valid' ID with him and was deemed travelling without a ticket. Mr Prabhu and the other passengers requested the ticket checker to accept his college ID, but to no avail.

Then, Mr Prabhu convinced the TT that he would get a general ticket by that afternoon, which can be upgraded. But the TT instructed them to get down at the next station, queue up and then get the ticket from the counter-all within two minutes, the standard time for a train stoppage.

"I requested him to call the station and arrange for a general ticket and that I would pay a bit more for it. But he was too honest a man: he said it's not his job nor was he interested in making money," said Mr Prabhu. Till 8 pm, the student had to provide the excuse that he could not acquire a ticket due to time constraints, though he got down at every station. Finally, after an hour, a coffee vendor came to their rescue and got them a ticket which the TT upgraded.

Mr Prabhu wrote to the IRCTC and the minister then, asking them to provide a viable option for students. After three months, South Western Railway's assistant commercial manager replied to the letter, and said that the desired changes have been made.

"In addition to the existing five Identity cards, it has been decided that the following two proofs of Identity may also be accepted as proof for travelling on e-tickets w.e.f., 15.06.2010: (1) student identity card with photograph issued by recognised school/college for their students, and (2) nationalised bank pass book with photograph," the authorities' reply said.

Mr Prabhu believes that people should be proactive in such issues. "There are thousands of absurd rules like these. It just takes someone to raise it," he said. But, he is waiting to meet the TT again. He said, "I must thank the TTE who opened our eyes. I had promised him that the next time I met him he will see a changed rule."


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