International Association for Hospice & Palliative Care

International Association for Hospice & Palliative Care

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IAHPC Hospice and Palliative Care Newsletter


2005; Volume 6, No 7, July


IAHPC Regional News


Many ways to help support palliative care.

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Focus on pharmaco-economics: an Indian exercise

M.R. Rajagopal, MD 

A six-day “Training the Trainers” program for palliative care physicians was held in Mumbai in January 05 (reported in IAHPC newsletter). At this program, a competition was announced to the participants. The competition was an academic exercise in proper preparation of teaching materials, the optimal use of visual aids and the provision of adequate back-up material.

Choice of subject:

The choice of the subject, “Pharmaco-economics,” was deliberate. Too often, the teaching of symptom control in palliative care focuses on available therapeutic options with scant consideration of cost. In the Indian context of a lack of a social security system (which I believe could be true for many developing countries), the cost of treatment can actually worsen the quality of life for patients and families. Families go into debt; children drop out of school and by the time the patient dies, the family may even be homeless. Doctors seldom think about this, and often the choice of a drug, or treatment modality, is dictated by the salesmanship of the pharmaceutical industry. We felt that the more this matter is discussed, the better it will be for our patients.

The competition:

The entrants submitted a PowerPoint presentation designed for a 40 minutes’ teaching session along with a hand-out in the form of a word document. The entries were evaluated by a team of judges – Dr Ram Narayan from the department of Medical Education from Manipal , India , Dr Reena George, editor of Indian Journal of Palliative Care from Christian Medical College , Vellore , India and Dr Robert Twycross from Oxford who was the course chairman.

We congratulate the winners:

  1. Dr M.M. Sunilkumar, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi ([email protected])
  2. Dr Anand Krisha Gudur, Belgaum Cancer Hospital , Belgaum , Karnataka ([email protected])
  3. Dr Mallika Tiruvadanan, Laxmi Palliative Care Trust, Chennai ([email protected])

The first winner will receive a prize sponsored by Dr Robert Twycross.


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