Scheduled drugs’ list
Bombay High Court has asked the Centre to include Remdesivir in the list of scheduled drugs and to regulate its pricing.
The direction came while the Bench was hearing a suo motu public interest litigation (PIL) petition on the shortage of oxygen, non-availablity of Remdesivir, Tocilizumab injections, and hospital beds in Nagpur district.
Other measures suggested by the Court:
The court also said that it is possible to regulate the pricing if a liberal interpretation is given to the provisions of Drugs and Cosmetics Act (DCA).
The provisions of the DCA allow restriction or regulation of prices of a drug that was essential during a natural calamity or epidemic.
Both the Drugs Control Act and DCA enable the central government to issue a notification to fix rates of essential drugs during an epidemic.
If the powers conferred on the Central government are exercised, it will go a long way. It will stop extortion of money from families of COVID-19 patients, and will also put a full stop to the black-marketing of the drug.
The Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945 contains provisions for classification of drugs under given schedules and there are guidelines for the storage, sale, display and prescription of each schedule.
The Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011
Importers of medical devices, used particularly for providing oxygen support to Covid-19 patients, are now allowed to import these devices without prior mandatory declaration for the next three months.
The Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011, make it mandatory to get the approvals prior to the import.
But, considering the pandemic situation of COVID-19 and to meet the demand of (sic) medical devices, the Central Government has given permission.
About the Legal Metrology Act 2009:
The Department of Consumer Affairs, administers the Legal Metrology Act 2009.
The act provides for application of legal requirements to measurements and measuring instruments.
The objective of Legal Metrology is to ensure public guarantee from the point of view of security and accuracy of the weighments and measurements.
The Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities), Rules 2011 are primarily intended to ensure that the consumers are able to make informed choices by being informed of essential declarations on the pre-packed commodities.
The Global Forest Goals Report 2021: UN Report
Released recently, the Report has been prepared by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations.
It provides an initial overview of progress of Goals and targets contained within the United Nations Strategic Plan for Forests 2030.
Covid-19 pandemic has aggravated the challenges faced by countries in managing their forests.
Overall impact: More than just a health crisis, Covid-19 is driving losses of lives and livelihoods, extreme poverty, inequality, and food insecurity, and it has put the ‘Future We Want’ further out of reach.
Impact on Global Output: It is estimated that world gross product fell by an estimated 4.3% in 2020. It is the sharpest contraction of global output since the Great Depression.
On the economic front, forest-dependent populations have faced job loss, reduced income, diminished access to markets and information, and for many women and youth, a contraction in seasonal employment.
Many forest dependent populations, especially those in remote or hard to reach places, have faced difficulties accessing healthcare or find that government assistance programmes and basic services are disrupted.
Pandemic driven health and socio-economic outcomes have increased pressure on forests. This is because, to ease their growing vulnerability, many indigenous peoples and local communities, as well as returning migrants and urban workers, have retreated deeper into the woods to seek food, fuel, shelter, and protection from the risks of Covid-19.
One million species were at risk of extinction and that 100 million hectares of tropical forest were lost from 1980 to 2000.
What needs to be done?
Sustainably resourced and managed forests can bolster employment, disaster risk reduction, food security and social safety nets, for starters.
With regard to global health, safeguarding and restoring forests are among the environmental actions that can reduce the risk of future zoonotic disease outbreaks.
The report called for a future course of action that included greater sustainability and a greener and more inclusive economy to tackle the threats of Covid-19, climate change and the biodiversity crisis faced by forests.
Climate change causing a shift in Earth’s axis
According to a study, due to the significant melting of glaciers because of global temperature rise, our planet’s axis of rotation has been moving more than usual since the 1990s.
While this change is not expected to affect daily life, it can change the length of the day by a few milliseconds.
What is the Earth’s axis?
The Earth’s axis of rotation is the line along which it spins around itself as it revolves around the Sun. The points on which the axis intersects the planet’s surface are the geographical north and south poles.
How it shifts?
The location of the poles is not fixed, however, as the axis moves due to changes in how the Earth’s mass is distributed around the planet. Thus, the poles move when the axis moves, and the movement is called “polar motion”.
According to NASA, data from the 20th century shows that the spin axis drifted about 10 centimetres per year. Meaning over a century, polar motion exceeds 10 metres.
Generally, polar motion is caused by changes in the hydrosphere, atmosphere, oceans, or solid Earth.
What the new study says?
Since the 1990s, climate change has caused billions of tonnes of glacial ice to melt into oceans. This has caused the Earth’s poles to move in new directions.
As per the study, the north pole has shifted in a new eastward direction since the 1990s, because of changes in the hydrosphere (meaning the way in which water is stored on Earth).
From 1995 to 2020, the average speed of drift was 17 times faster than from 1981 to 1995. Also, in the last four decades, the poles moved by about 4 metres in distance.
Latest factors behind this change:
The faster ice melting, change in non‐glacial regions due to climate change and unsustainable consumption of groundwater for irrigation and other anthropogenic activities.
As millions of tonnes of water from below the land is pumped out every year for drinking, industries or agriculture, most of it eventually joins the sea, thus redistributing the planet’s mass.