The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today notified new rules doing away with automatic approval for foreign direct investment (FDI) in existing pharmaceutical companies, according to a BS report, quoting PTI as saying. Tightening the norms, the government had last month done away with automatic approval of FDI in the existing pharmaceutical companies. "FDI, up to 100 percent, would be permitted for Brownfield investment (investments in existing companies), in the pharmaceutical sector, under the government approval route," RBI said in a notification. Under the new rules, for any merger or acquisition, the overseas investor will have to seek permission from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB). After six months, it will be the monopoly watchdog Competition Commission of India (CCI) which will vet such deals. The decision follows directions from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who along with his senior Cabinet colleagues had deliberated on October 10 this year over concerns arising out of several acquisitions of domestic pharmaceutical companies by overseas firms.
For the new investment, 100 percent FDI will be allowed under the automatic route, under which investors only inform the Reserve Bank about the inflows and no specific government nod is required. "FDI, up to 100 percent, under the automatic route, would continue to be permitted for green field investments in the pharmaceuticals sector," the RBI said. The filter was suggested by a high-level committee, headed by Planning Commission Member Arun Maira. Concerns have been raised over the impact of a spate of acquisitions of homegrown firms by multi-national companies. The recent acquisitions include Ranbaxy Laboratories buy out by Daiichi Sankyo of Japan, Shanta Biotech by Sanofi Aventis of France and Piramal Health Care by Abbott Laboratories of the US.
The affordability factor has so far been the hallmark of the Indian generic drugs all over the world, thanks to robust growth of the homegrown players, added the report.
People with diets high in several vitamins or in omega 3 fatty acids are less likely to have the brain shrinkage associated with Alzheimer's disease than people whose diets are not high in those nutrients, according to a new study published in the December 28, 2011, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
How sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra, can alleviate heart problems is reported by Bochum's researchers in cooperation with colleagues from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester (Minnesota) in the journal Circulation. They studied dogs with diastolic heart failure, a condition in which the heart chamber does not sufficiently fill with blood. The scientists showed that sildenafil makes stiffened cardiac walls more elastic again. The drug activates an enzyme that causes the giant protein titin in the myocardial cells to relax. "We have developed a therapy in an animal model that, for the first time, also raises hopes for the successful treatment of patients" says Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Linke of the RUB Institute of Physiology.
"Rubber band proteins" can be influenced
Sildenafil inhibits a specific enzyme (phosphodiesterase 5 A), which causes the increased formation of a messenger substance (cGMP). The messenger substance activates the enzyme protein kinase G, which attaches phosphate groups to certain proteins. This so-called phosphorylation causes blood vessels to relax, which was why the "potency pill" Viagra originally came onto the market. The Bochum and Rochester researchers found that the cardiac muscle protein titin is also phosphorylated through the same mechanism. "The titin molecules are similar to rubber bands" explains the Bochum physiologist. "They contribute decisively to the stiffness of the cardiac walls." The activity of the protein kinase G causes titin to relax. This makes the cardiac walls more elastic. The effect occurs within minutes of administering the drug.
Heart failure drugs currently not sufficient
"Of all the patients aged over 60 who are in hospital because of a weak heart, half suffer from diastolic heart failure" explains Linke. "Although we know that the decreased distensibility of the cardiac walls is the cause, the disease cannot be treated properly with today's medicines." In the so-called "Relax" study of the Heart Failure Network, the efficacy of sildenafil in people is already being tested. "If, for the first time, the drug is found to have a positive effect on heart failure, we would already have a molecular mechanism on hand to explain the effect" says Linke.
Italian scientists have found that the mind can be kept young by eating less. They have discovered the molecular process by which a strict diet may save the brain from the ravages of age.
Washington: Long-term consumption of coffee may be associated with a reduced risk of cancer of the endometrium — or the lining of the uterus or womb, says a 26-year study.
The study published online Tuesday in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, said coffee is fast emerging as a protective agent in cancers linked to obesity, estrogen and insulin.
"Coffee has already been shown to be protective against diabetes due to its effect on insulin. So we hypothesized that we'd see a reduction in some cancers as well," Edward Giovannucci, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, was quoted as saying by Xinhua.
French botanical manufacturing company, Naturex has announced that its product Svetol, green coffee bean extract, has shown efficacy in weight loss. According to the company, the product reduces the amount of sugar in the blood stream by preventing the absorption of glucose in the intestine, so that the body uses stored fat for energy. A placebo controlled double blind study was carried out on 50 overweight people aged 19-75 years over a period of 60 days.
After 60 days of treatment, a mean reduction in weight of 5.7% was observed in the Svetol group corresponding to an average weight loss of 5kg. On the other hand, the placebo group lost only 2.9% of weight. Moreover, those taking Svetol had a 4% increase in lean to fat mass ratio, as opposed to 1.6% in the placebo group. Naturex scientist and food technologist Alvin Ibarra said the green coffee bean uses a different mechanism of weight loss compared to other natural weight management pills.
"While other diet pills are based on suppressing appetite, stimulating metabolism or providing a sense of fullness through extra fibre, Svetol is unique in its ability to significantly inhibit the absorption of carbohydrates, reducing blood glucose levels and thereby encouraging the body to use stored fat for energy," Ibarra added.
Washington: The more often married individuals above the age of 65 engage in sex, the more likely they are to be happy with both their lives and marriages.
Based on the survey responses of 238 married individuals aged 65 years or older, Adrienne Jackson found that frequency of sex significantly predicted both general and marital happiness.
The link even remained after accounting for factors such as age, gender, health status, and satisfaction with financial situations, said Jackson, assistant professor at Florida Agriculture and Mechanical University.
While only 40 percent of individuals who reported no sexual activity in the last 12 months said they were very happy with life in general, almost 60 percent who engaged in sexual activity more than once a month said they were very happy, according to a Florida statement.
People with low iron levels in their blood may have a higher risk of dangerous clots. A study of clotting risk factors in patients with an inherited blood vessel disease suggests that treating iron deficiency could be instrumental in preventing potentially lethal clots
Dyslipidemic statin intolerant patients can be treated using various strategies:
Decreasing statin dose
Non daily dosing of statins
Other hypolipidemic drugs
Life style modifications
Red yeast rice
Vitamin D supplementation in deficiency states
Other potential new therapies
People suffering from mood and anxiety disorders are more likely to abuse opioids or painkillers. They include patients of bipolar, panic and major depressive disorders, according to a new study by researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Loyola University Medical Center researchers are reporting what could become the first reliable method to predict whether an antidepressant will work on a depressed patient. The method would involve a blood test for a protein called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). A Loyola study found that among depressed patients who had higher than normal blood levels of VEGF, more than 85 percent experienced partial or complete relief from depression after taking escitalopram . By comparison, fewer than 10 percent of depressed patients who had low levels of VEGF responded to the drug.