Chicken Flu: How Much Of A Threat?

THE recent epidemic termed “chicken flu” has once again underlined how fragile humankind’s mastery over disease really is. The chicken flu epidemic, affecting poultry stocks, has now spread across most of East Asia and spread … Read more


THE widespread global panic associated with the “anthrax scare” has ensured that bio-terrorism has leapfrogged out of the pages of science fiction thrillers into the everyday lives of common people. The use of biological weapons … Read more

Draft National Health Policy

THE national Health Policy draft was finally released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, early this month. The draft is available on the website of the ministry which says that comments on it … Read more

Anti-People State Population Policies

IN February last year, the Government of India adopted the National Population Policy 2000. This policy is weak on many counts: population is not integrated with health, it has population stabilization rather than the health … Read more

Decontrol Of Drug Prices

THE wolves are baying at the door, once again calling for further decontrol in the prices of drugs. Since comprehensive price controls were imposed on drugs in 1979, drug companies have continuously clamoured for their … Read more

Profiteering on Human Misery

For the first time, the International AIDS Conference will be held on the African continent in South Africa — in a country where a significant proportion of the population has AIDS. It is being held … Read more

People’s Health Assembly

BETWEEN December 4 to 8, a major International Conference on Health was held in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The event was the culmination of a two-year long co-ordinated International effort. It was attended by about 1,500 delegates … Read more

Ten Years of Reforms: The State of the Health Sector

With the introduction of the Structural Adjustment Policies in 1991 there has been a major shift in the government’s policy towards  social sectors like health. These policies sought to — by way of fiscal austerity … Read more

Lamentations on the Billionth Baby

The arrival of the billionth baby in India has been greeted with the expected responses. International financial institutions, NGOs, the Indian Government and assorted political parties have seen this as an opportunity to reaffirm their … Read more

Genes in Private Hands

Biology’s Big Moment  Many call it biology’s big moment — the equivalent of setting foot on the moon. In June, next year, after a decade of work by thousands of researchers across the globe, we … Read more

Drug Donations From US Charity or Waste Disposal?

ANY major disaster, natural or man-made, is invariably followed by reports of massive donations of medicines, usually from the US, made by “charitable” institutions. There have been reports of a large number of US charity … Read more

The Origin of the AIDS Virus

IN the early eighties, doctors in the United States were confronted with an outbreak of mysterious diseases most often seen when the immune system is damaged. Soon this trend manifested itself in Western Europe. As … Read more