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INDIAN (H)

Forensic Science Lab reports pending in 2,000 cases

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Forensic Science Lab reports pending in 2,000 casesHYDERABAD: Over 2,000 cases from Telangana and AP are pending with Forensic Science Lab, of which nearly 900 cases are from Hyderabad. “The FSL has not been bifurcated yet, so the lab is handling both Telangana and AP cases, leading to more workload. Also, there is acute shortage of staff. The cops are yet to receive reports in around 900 cases,” said N Venkanna, scientific officer and head of Clues Team.

As per FSL norms, the report should be sent within a month, however, the FSL is taking two to three months to send the reports. “The DNA analysis takes nearly two months. However, sometimes police need the reports faster to investigate cases, so the FSL have to prioritise the work accordingly,” he said.

For cases under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, FSL takes over 20 days to give results. Venkanna said that 20 days is a long period for the police to dispose off the case. “The clues team head office is equipped to do minimum analysis. Drug samples are quickly checked using Drugs Broad Screening System. Though, we can’t provide specific details on how much percentage of which substances is there, but it helps police make arrests in the case,” Venkanna added.



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INDIAN (H)

Shantha Biotechnics gets WHO nod for cholera vaccine

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Shanchol™ cholera vaccine is majorly used for prevention and control of cholera in outbreak, endemic settings during humanitarian crises.
Shanchol™ cholera vaccine is majorly used for prevention and control of cholera in outbreak, endemic settings during humanitarian crises.

HYDERABAD: Shantha Biotechnics, a wholly-owned subsidiary of one of the world’s largest pharma company Sanofi group, on Monday announced that it has received approval from the World Health Organisation (WHO) for its oral cholera vaccine Shanchol which eliminates the challenges of maintaining the vaccine cold chain between +2°C and +8°C to maintain vaccine potency during transport.

According to the company, Shanchol™ cholera vaccine is the second “mass campaign” vaccine and first cholera vaccine worldwide to receive such a stamp of approval for storage and distribution outside the traditional cold chain. It is majorly used for prevention and control of cholera in outbreak, endemic settings during humanitarian crises.

Dr Mahesh Bhalgat, executive director and chief operating officer, Shantha Biotechnics, said, “This is a significant milestone in our efforts towards effective cholera prevention and control. The WHO’s approval will help us make Shanchol™ available to populations living in remote, hard-to-reach areas of India and other parts of the world, especially ones with erratic electricity supply.”

The vaccine may be kept for single period of time of up to 14 days at temperature of up to 40°C immediately prior to administration, provided the vaccine has not reached its expiry date and vaccine vial monitor has not reached discard point.

N. Rajaram, managing director, Sanofi India, said, “The storage label change takes us a few steps closer to our vision of a world where no lives are lost to preventable infectious diseases, as it has the potential to significantly change cholera control efforts for the better, not only in India but also in other parts of the world where the vaccine is needed the most”.

Since WHO pre-qualification in 2011, 12 million doses of Shanchol™ vaccine have been shipped to 25 countries across the world, including Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Mozambique and South Sudan.



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INDIAN (H)

Unpledged assets of Singh brothers to be used to repay Daiichi's award

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The court's latest order asks that a warrant be issued to attach the unpledged assets of RHC Holding Pvt Ltd and Oscar Investments Ltd.
The court’s latest order asks that a warrant be issued to attach the unpledged assets of RHC Holding Pvt Ltd and Oscar Investments Ltd.

The Delhi High Court has decided to attach all unencumbered assets disclosed by two companies controlled by Malvinder and Shivinder Singh so that Japanese drug maker Daiichi Sankyo can recover a Rs3,500-crore international arbitration award from them.

The court’s latest order asks that a warrant be issued to attach the unpledged assets of RHC Holding Pvt Ltd and Oscar Investments Ltd. It also said that the companies cannot use some bank accounts they had disclosed as part of their assets, except for paying salaries and making statutory payments.

The court has also passed a ‘Garnishee Order’ so that any debts owed to the two companies could be directed towards paying the award.

Other individual respondents in this case, including the Singhs, also have to furnish an up-to-date list of their assets that are not pledged by the next hearing on March 23.

The court’s status quo order preventing the brothers and 12 other respondents from dealing with assets disclosed during earlier proceedings continues until this date as well.



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INDIAN (H)

Is Sun Pharma's Halol site close to a rebound?

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For FY17, Sun Pharma had revenues of Rs 30,264 crore, of which Rs 13,300 crore came from the US.
For FY17, Sun Pharma had revenues of Rs 30,264 crore, of which Rs 13,300 crore came from the US.

Halol in Gujarat is like any other obscure town, but for those watching the Indian pharma industry closely, it is a hotspot.

About 40% of the US revenues of Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, India’s most valuable pharmaceutical company, is linked to its Halol site. For FY17, Sun Pharma had revenues of Rs 30,264 crore, of which Rs 13,300 crore came from the US (including the benefits of exclusivity-period opportunities of the anti-cancer drug imatinib and the authorised generic of olmesartan used to treat hypertension).

So when Sun recently informed stock exchanges that it had received only three observations – references to violations – from the US Food and Drugs Administration (USFDA), its market value jumped by over Rs 6,730 crore, or 5.17%, in a day.

The most important reason for this buoyancy is that Sun may be getting better at resolving the issues at the critical site.

The latest investigation, said to have been conducted by three USFDA investigators, may not yield conclusive evidence of the nature of the violations, since the USFDA does not categorise them as minor or major. Minor violations may call for voluntary corrections, whereas major ones may sometimes trigger a reinspection.

Experts say the three observations may be handled without a long-drawn reinspection. Sun has submitted to the exchanges that it will respond to the USFDA note within 15 days, the deadline to revert with an action plan. If things go as planned, the Halol site may be cleared within three months, say analysts.

There’s added cause for optimism from another important site, at Dadra, where Sun has been able to solve its quality issues quickly. Last April, the USFDA had found as many as 11 quality and procedural violations at the unit. In October, the company announced that it had received an establishment inspection report from the agency, meaning the April inspection had been closed and the unit had been cleared for production.

This is good news for Sun Pharma boss Dilip Shanghvi. Sun Pharma has been regarded as one of the most strategically managed pharmaceutical companies in India. Shanghvi must be hoping that slowly but surely, the outlook for his company is turning bright again.



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INDIAN (H)

Can iconic Tiger Balm makers be third-time lucky in India?

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Can iconic Tiger Balm makers be third-time lucky in India?A K Han knows a thing or two about tigers, especially how they prey. A tiger, reckons the executive director with Singapore-based Haw Par Corporation — the makers of iconic Tiger Balm — can take down prey four to five times its own size. The majestic predator carefully stalks its prey, is deceptive in movement and can pounce on target with lightning speed. The trick, Han lets on, is to be patient before going for the kill, something similar to what Han claims Haw Par is doing now in India.

After spending over two decades in wilderness, Han, 69, asserts that the Tiger Balm brand is finally out of the woods in India, and more interestingly within striking distance of mauling its rivals.

“Within three years, India will be among top three markets for Haw Par. Now it’s ranked 15th,” asserts Han, who was in Mumbai early this month to launch neck and shoulder rub, the second product to roll out in 24 years. “Tiger will be aggressive and grab market share from rivals,” claims Han, his small eyes suddenly growing wide with excitement, as the grandeur of iconic Taj Mahal Palace in Colaba provide a fitting background for the analgesic balm brand to announce its rebirth.

First launched in India in 1993 by inking a deal with Elder Pharma, Tiger Balm changed partner mid-course in 2011 by roping in FMCG major CavinKare. However, both the venture didn’t do much for the brand which is sold in over 100 countries.

“India is a very difficult market. It’s big, opportunity is massive but making inroads has been tough,” concedes Han, who first came to India in 1993. One needs to appreciate the fact, he points out, that Haw Par is the only international balm with a presence in India. “We had to contend with a slow start,” he says, adding that what added to the woes was a slew of copycats flooding the market. Cheetah, Dragon, Cat, Puma… all kind of fake, imitation labels tried to make most of the massive brand equity that Tiger Balm managed to build during the initial years.

“Fighting fakes, forming alliances, pushing promotions, fixing pricing…it has not been easy for us. We needed time to grow and establish,” says Han, as he dwells on past to explain the resilience Tiger Balm.

Haw Par hit a rough patch in ’70s. The company, Han informs, got listed on Singapore stock exchange in 1969, and was soon taken over by British conglomerate Slater Walker. Unfortunately, the British company couldn’t survive for long as it got shuttered due to banking crisis. In 1981, Haw Par got a new owner in Singaporean banker Dr Wee Cho Yaw. After a decade, in 1992, the company took back Tiger Balm brand, which had been franchised out for 20 years during the Slater Walker period.

“Tiger was back in its den,” says Han, who joined the company in 1992 and has been instrumental in reviving the brand by addressing three major issues hampering its growth: a very strong aroma, greasy texture and not enough repeat buyers. Han rolled out a new range of products that were non-sticky, the resting tiger logo was changing to a ‘leaping’ tiger, and an aggressive marketing push was undertaken to underline the remedial properties of the balm.

Fast forward to 2018. In India, Han needs to replicate his global performance if he hopes to make Tiger grab a bigger market share by taking on the likes of biggies such as Amrutanjan and Zandu. A task, Han reckons, won’t be easy. “Tiger never forgets how to prey,” he says, breaking into a guffaw.

Tiger Balm, reckon marketing experts , stands a realistic chance of giving a big scare to biggies in the market. “It can absolutely be thirdtime lucky,” says Ashita Aggarwal, head of marketing at SP Jain Institute of Management and Research, alluding to Haw Par’s third partnership in India with Alkem Pharma last year. While what impeded the growth of the brand during its first two stints was lack of focus and inability to crack the distribution puzzle, Haw Par roping in fifth biggest pharma company by revenue as its latest partner might do wonders for the brand.

“The biggest asset of Tiger Balm is the massive brand equity that it enjoys,” says Aggarwal. With its latest marketing and advertising push, it can really give biggies in the market a tough time.

The going, however, might not be easy. Reason: Tiger Balm has to overhaul the distribution and retail strategy, something easier said than done. The tiger, avers brand strategist Harish Bijoor, can’t be the king of the jungle alone. It needs to be the ubiquitous rat in every store and every home. “While advertising will help recreate the image, the key is mastering the distribution loop,” he contends. The Balm category has now become a holein-the-wall shop kind of play in India. Reaching into the gut of this kind of distribution will be the challenge for Tiger Balm, adds Bijoor.

Han, for his part, is betting big on his local knowledge, and language, of the market. “Tiger jitega (Tiger will win),” he bursts into laughter, exhibiting his confidence and surprising command over local language. “Choli ke peeche kya hai,” he hums this chartbuster from 1990s. In fact, the movie released the year Han came to India for the first time: 1993. “Mujhse baat karne ke liye dhanyawaad (Thanks for talking to me),” says Han as he gets ready to make Tiger enter every nook and corner of urban jungle.



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INDIAN (H)

Dr Reddy's tumbles 4% on USFDA inspection report

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Dr Reddy’s had hit 52-week high of Rs 2,948 on March 1, 2017, and 52-week low of Rs 1,901.65 on August 11, 2017.
Dr Reddy’s had hit 52-week high of Rs 2,948 on March 1, 2017, and 52-week low of Rs 1,901.65 on August 11, 2017.

Dr Reddy’s Laboratories tanked as much as 4 per cent in early trade on Monday after the pharma major on Sunday said it has received the establishment inspection report (EIR) from the USFDA for its Srikakulam plant.

The company, without going into the content of the EIR, said the USFDA has maintained OAI (Official Action Indicated) status at its API manufacturing plant in Srikakulam.

The US drug regulator has sought more details from the company.

“The FDA has asked us for more details. We are providing those details and continuing to engage with the FDA for resolution of pending issues,” Dr Reddy’s said in a regulatory filing.

An OAI status is equivalent to finding objectionable conditions at the audit site and is also indicative of regulatory and/or administrative sanctions.

The USFDA issues an EIR to an establishment that is the subject of an FDA or FDA-contracted inspection when the agency decides to close the inspection.

The stock cut down initial losses to an extent and was trading 2.22 per cent down at Rs 2,121 at around 9.35 am (IST). The scrip opened the day at Rs 2,080 and scaled high and low of Rs 2,148 and Rs 2,080, respectively. Benchmark BSE Sensex was up 115 points, or 0.34 per cent, at 34,256 at around the same time.

Dr Reddy’s had hit 52-week high of Rs 2,948 on March 1, 2017, and 52-week low of Rs 1,901.65 on August 11, 2017.



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INDIAN (H)

Trauma, emergency centres at Hamidia hospital from March 15

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Hamidia Hospital (File Photo)
Hamidia Hospital (File Photo)

The new trauma and emergency building at Hamidia hospital would be fully functional from March 15, said Bhopal divisional commissioner Ajatshatru Shrivastava on Sunday. He visited the new facility that is expected to improve emergency care at the premier government hospital.

Hamidia is one of the associated hospitals of Gandhi Medical College (GMC) wherein expansion and redevelopment of the campus has been underway on a massive scale for the last one year. The new OPD wing is located at the entrance of the hospital.

Nearly 10% of all the cases referred to the tertiary care hospital are related to trauma and emergency. The facility would provide for 24×7 specialists and diagnostics facility.

While some OPDs along with trauma and emergency care have become operational, the new block would be merged with existing hospital in the next three weeks. Three operational theatres, two modular and one septic OT, would commence operations by mid-March. The functional separation of septic OT will cater to surgical procedures in order to maintain high levels of hygiene and avoid incidence of skin and soft tissue infections. Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is expected to inaugurate the facility.

Hospital administration is also anticipating the possibility of the start of MRI and CT scan diagnostics in March. Radio diagnostics would be on PPP mode with state government bearing the cost of interventions for BPL and similar patients.

Sources said that the government owned HLL Lifecare Limited (HLL) may also be given the contract for maintenance and non-clinical operations for services in the new OPD block. HLL has been entrusted with a multi-crore contract for providing housekeeping and security services to the medical hospital.



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