In a new study that has found that ambient air pollution shortens human lives by more than one year, India is placed fourth among 185 countries in terms of average years of life expectancy lost due to exposure to PM2.5. Bangladesh (1.87 years), Egypt (1.85) and Pakistan (1.56) have been found to be at higher risk than India (1.53 years). The study also estimated that if PM2.5 in all countries met the World Health Organisation’s guideline for air quality (10 microgrammes per cubic metre), then life expectancy could increase by 0.6 years. In India, if PM2.5 levels were to be reduced from the current 74.1 microgrammes per cubic metre to 10, 15, 25 or 35 microgrammes/cu m, the study estimated that the potential increments in life expectancy would be between a year and about half a year (see table). The researchers used data from the Global Burden of Disease Study to measure PM2.5 exposure and its consequences in these 185 countries. They then quantified the national impact on life expectancy for each individual country, as well as on a global scale.
This Word Means — Fluoroquinolones
What do such drugs treat, why does the government want to issue labelling changes?
On Thursday, The Indian Express reported that the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) is likely to issue changes in labelling for “fluoroquinolones”, a class of antibiotic drugs. Fluoroquinolones are approved for the treatment or prevention of certain bacterial infections but, like other antibacterial drugs, they do not treat viral infections such as colds or flu. Various fluoroquinolones such as Ciprofloxacin, Norfloxacin, Ofloxacin, Levofloxacin and Moxifloxacin are available in India. For example, Norfloxacin is sold under different brand names by different companies in India: Norflox by Cipla, Enflox by Sun Pharmaceuticals, Norflot by Natco Pharma, etc. CDSCO is contemplating labelling changes following similar action taken by the United States Food and Drug Administration on July 10. The CDSCO is examining the issue in consultation with its subject expert committee. The USFDA made it clear on July 10 that pharmaceutical companies in the US would need to make labelling changes on fluoroquinolones “to strengthen the warnings about the risks of mental health side effects and serious blood sugar disturbances”, and make these “warnings more consistent across all fluoroquinolones taken by mouth or given by injection”. The USFDA added that these labelling changes have been decided “based on a comprehensive review” of the drugs’ adverse event reports and case reports published in medical literature. Edward Cox, director of the Office of Antimicrobial Products, USFDA, stated on July 10: “The use of fluoroquinolones has a place in the treatment of serious bacterial infections — such as certain types of bacterial pneumonia — where the benefits of these drugs outweigh the risks, and they should remain available as a therapeutic option.”
— DEEPAK PATEL