Irene Frachon, a lung specialist whose study was instrumental in highlighting the risks of the Servier pill Mediator | AP thrissur l tuesday l march 30, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 16 l city EDITION French pharma major guilty of involuntary manslaughter Court convicts Servier for deaths caused by Mediator, a drug used for diabetes, weightloss treatment between 1976-2009 damaged heart valves, killed at least 500 banned by u.s, Spain & italy before 2009 In 1999, a study linked the pill with damage of heart valves but Servier continued to push the product till 2009 before pulling it out. A French court said the firm misled consumers on the pill for decades, despite being aware of its side-effects. Experts testified that about 500 people have died due to the drug and the number may exceed 2,100 deaths eventually ■ ■ ■ France’s medicines agency ANSM was fined 303,000 euros for delay in action, despite repeated warnings over its side effects Servier’s former deputy boss sentenced to a suspended jail sentence of four years and fined several million euros in damages Mediator was used by 50 lakh people across the world till 2009 $350 mn settled out of court between patients, insurance firms and the pharma CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOgGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ WARANGAL ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI High Court stays poll panel’s order, says govt free to distribute rice Govt must not use it to woo voters; EC says action not due to any party’s objection E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @Kochi People gather in large numbers in Prayagraj on Monday amid a countrywide spike in Covid cases to celebrate Holi | PTI WHO report on Covid-19 origin in sync with China E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e A joint World Health Organization-China study on the origins of Covid-19 went with Beijing’s position on the chances of its leak from a Wuhan lab being extremely unlikely and concluded that the most plausible scenario was its transmission from bats to humans through another animal. The report put together by an international team of experts and seen by the Associated Press proposed further research in every area except the lab leak hypothesis. But WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said all hypotheses on the origins remained open and needed further study . The report is expected to be made public on Tuesday. “We’ve got real concerns about the methodology and the process that went into that report, including the fact that the government in Beijing apparently helped to write it,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a recent CNN interview. China hit back accusing the US of trying to pressure the WHO experts’ group. The report listed scenarios in the order of likelihood, starting with transmission from bats to another animal, which it said was likely to very likely . On direct spread from bats to humans, experts saw it as likely; while spreading to humans from the packaging of cold-chain food products was seen as possible but not likely . The Kerala High Court on Monday stayed the order of the Election Commission (EC) halting the distribution of rice to non-priority ration cardholders in view of the VishuEaster-Ramzan season. With this order, the state government can continue the distribution of rice as fixed earlier. Justice P V Asha issued the order on a petition filed by the state government through the additional secretary of the Food and Civil Supplies Department seeking to quash the commission’s order. The EC requested the court to ensure that the stay order shall not be used as a weapon in the election by the ruling party to influence the voters. The court made it clear that the distribution should be strictly in accordance with the model code of conduct. All ostentatious functions should be strictly avoided with regard to the rice distribution and no impression should be created that such welfare measures or relief and rehabilita- Prevent double voting, deploy forces: HC to EC E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Kochi tion works are being undertaken by the government so as to influence the electors in favour of the party in power. The state government argued that the model code of conduct does not apply to the implementation of ongoing programmes. The decision regarding the special distribution was taken on February 4, much before the election notification. The decision was taken based on the finance minister’s budget speech. In the Kerala Budget-2021, the government had announced that additional rice of 10kg at the rate of S15 would be provided to 50 lakh families having blue and white ration cards, which means non-priority categories. Hence, it will not fall under the model code of conduct ● More on P7 provisions. THE High Court on Monday directed the Election Commission and the chief electoral officer (CEO) to ensure that no double voting takes place on the assembly polling day in the state. “We are of the prima facie view that there are discrepancies in the final voters’ list published by the Election Commission. It should make sure that sufficient state and Central forces are posted at all voting places to ensure fair and democratic elections. To implement the order, steps should be taken on a war footing,” said a division bench comprising Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly . The bench held the court order should be implemented in letter and spirit, without any room for complaint. The court passed the interim order on a petition filed by Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala seeking a directive to the poll panel and the CEO to take immediate steps to delete or freeze the fake and multiple entries of names in the final electoral rolls published for the assembly polls. Chennithala’s counsel T Asaf Ali had submitted that there are about 3,24,441 double votes and 1,09,601 bogus voters, spreading over 131 assembly constituencies, and 4,34,042 double/fake voters in total in the final electoral rolls. Though complaints were lodged with the poll panel to correct the electoral rolls, no steps have been taken. The poll panel’s counsel said immediately after receipt of the complaint, the CEO had directed the district electoral officers to carry out a detailed probe to find out the factual position and report whether there had been any deliberate attempt to register the same voter more than once in electoral rolls. It pointed out that at times, when a voter shifts his residence and goes to some other place, there are possibilities of ● More on P7 registering twice.
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