Mandatory sex-determination test?

In a move to prevent sex-selective abortions, Maharashtra’s Public Accounts Committee, in a report tabled in the state assembly on Saturday, recommended making pre-natal sex determination mandatory.

The report calls for compulsory sex-determination at ultrasound centres and then for authorities to track prospective parents to make sure that they are getting further check-ups, especially when the foetus is known to be female. If a couple stops going to a health facility for these follow-ups, the report recommends that health authorities visit them at home

The panel also wants parents brought under the purview of the Pre- Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, which right now allows doctors who reveal the sex of a foetus to be prosecuted.

The sex ratio at birth in Maharashtra has been rising slowly from 854 girls per 1,000 boys in 2010 to 861 girls in 2011 and 919 girls in 2014.

Contaminated injections?

The Delhi health department has sought a report from the city’s Guru Teg Bahadur hospital over an incident last Sunday when 20 patients who were undergoing eye treatments were allegedly given contaminated injections of the anti-growth factor drug Avastin. The drug is used to prevent irreversible blindness in patients suffering from diabetic retinopathy, hypertensive retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration.

The 20 patients had been rushed to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences where eight of them had to be operated upon. Some of the patients continued to complain of problems with their vision even after being discharged, according to wire reports. A woman affected by the injections later died of cardiac arrest. Her family has said that the woman had to change her medication for a heart condition when she developed blurred vision after receiving allegedly contaminated injection.

The hospital has constituted a committee to look into the incident and has sent samples of the Avastin injections to a microbiology lab for testing. The National Human Rights Commission had issued a notice to the Delhi government seeking a detailed report within four weeks. The Delhi government, in turn, has asked the hospital for a report.

Substandard Fair and Lovely

The Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration has found a sample of the skin-lightening cream Fair & Lovely manufactured by Hindustan Unilever to be “substandard” because of an excess count of microbes.

The authority said that tests showed the sample had a total microbial count of more than three lakh colony forming units per gram and a yeast and mould count of just under three lakh colony forming units. The limit allowed for the two measures is 1,000 and 100 colony forming unites per gram, respectively.

FDA commissioner Harshdeep Kamble told the Indian Express that the authority had asked the Hindustan Unilever for a controlled sample to compare to the sample already tested. However, the company told the newspaper it has not received any request for a sample from the FDA.