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March 2024

How’s the IT health? Not good, sir, as 61% have high cholesterol, says study

Mar 25,2024 New Delhi: About 77% of the 56,000 IT sector corporate employees in the age group of 25-40 years suffers from deranged values in several health parameters and 61% have high cholesterol, a clinical study conducted by HCL Healthcare has revealed. The study was conducted on people working in the sector who underwent health checks and doctors’ consultations at its onsite clinics. The objective of this study was to underline the growing need for preventive care in the corporate spectrum of India. The clinical parameters studied included 8 key health conditions – obesity, prediabetes, diabetes, prehypertension, hypertension, anaemia, hypothyroidism and high cholesterol. The study has revealed that high cholesterol (61%) tops the chart with nearly two-thirds of corporate individuals showing deranged values. It is followed by obesity (around 22%), prediabetes (17%), hypothyroidism and anaemia (11% each), diabetes (7%), and then other health problems. The same individual can have more than one abnormal health condition. It was also observed that nearly 44% of the younger population below 25 years of age also suffered from deranged cholesterol followed by anaemia (14%), obesity (13%), hypothyroidism (8%), and prediabetes (7%). These chronic health conditions appear to be growing at a rapid pace and with a higher prevalence among those with advancing age. “We see a considerable rise in the prevalence of these health conditions in the above-40 age group, with high cholesterol, obesity, pre-diabetes, and diabetes topping the list,” quality data analysts said. Only 23% of these employees had their health parameters within range. About 37% of the individuals who were studied had a single chronic health condition while 26% suffered from two conditions followed by 11% having three (comorbidities). Doctors said that the above parameters make up a constellation of common lifestyle problems and noncommunicable diseases which mean that these conditions may have a common underlying cause and can co-exist in an individual. This is clinically called metabolic syndrome and requires timely intervention. Shikhar Malhotra, vice-chairman and CEO of HCL Healthcare, said: “The data clearly shows the incidence of diseases and health abnormalities starting at a much younger age. The health issues that used to begin in the 40s have now shifted base to early 30s. Some fluctuations in health and vitality are normal, attributed to hormonal and metabolic shifts but what is concerning is the amplified stress and lifestyle-induced ailments that are becoming synonymous with such health issues now seen in the 30s.” He added that employers need to give access to basic health check-ups because early intervention in these conditions can help people control symptoms and find timely treatments. “Today, we suffer not just from health problems, but we suffer from a lack of awareness,” he said. Source: Healthworld

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Spanish TB vaccine MTBVAC commences clinical trials in India

Mar 24,2024 Hyderabad: MTBVAC, the Spanish tuberculosis vaccine, the first live attenuated vaccine of Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolated from a human reaches a new milestone by starting clinical trials in India, the most populated country in the world and the one with the highest number of cases of this infectious disease. The trials are carried out by Bharat Biotech in close collaboration with Biofabri. Trials to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of MTBVAC have started with a pivotal safety, immunogenicity and efficacy trial planned to start in 2025. After more than three decades of research, Esteban Rodriguez, CEO, Biofabri said, “It is a giant step to test in adults and adolescents in the country where 28 per cent of the world’s TB cases accumulate and concludes that more effort and funding is needed to combat TB, which remains one of the world’s leading infectious causes of death, especially in India.” It should be remembered that the only vaccine in use today, BCG (Bacillus Calmette and Guérin), is an attenuated variant of the bovine TB pathogen. It is more than a hundred years old and has a very limited effect on pulmonary tuberculosis, which is responsible for the transmission of the disease, hence the need to make progress on this new vaccine, which will be a milestone in global vaccinology and is an example of public-private, national and international collaboration. Dr Krishna Ella, Executive Chairman, Bharat Biotech added, “Our quest for a more effective vaccine against tuberculosis received a big boost today, with clinical trials in India. Our goal to develop TB vaccines to prevent disease in adults and adolescents has taken a big step today. We are honoured to partner with BioFabri, Dr. Esteban Rodriguez and Dr. Carlos Martin in this noble effort to reinvent TB vaccines.” A long process, an example of public-private collaboration The MTBVAC vaccine has passed several milestones before entering clinical trials in India. The first is that after the recent completion of a Phase 2 dose-finding trial, a double-blind, controlled Phase 3 clinical trial in newborns started in 2023, comparing the vaccine with the current BCG vaccine. 7,000 newborns from South Africa, 60 from Madagascar and 60 from Senegal will be vaccinated. To date, more than 1,900 babies have been vaccinated. The aim is to assess the immunogenicity and efficacy of MTBVAC which is administered intradermally to infants on the first day of life. Vaccination began at a time of setbacks in the global fight against TB. Health restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic led to an increase in infections and a decrease in diagnosis and treatment. As a result, annual TB deaths have risen to over 1.6 million. This Phase 3 neonatal project, partially funded by the European Union through its EDCTP (European & Development Countries Clinical Trial Partnership) programme, is being coordinated by Biofabri, as part of a consortium that also includes the University of Zaragoza (Unizar), TuBerculosis Vaccine Initiative (TBVI), The University of Cape Town (UCT)/SATVI, Wits VIDA Health Consortium (WHC), Stellenbosch University (SUN-FAMCRU), Enhancing Care Foundation (ECF), Centre de Recherche Biomedicale Espoir Pour La Santé (CRB-EPLS, Senegal) and Institut Pasteur de Madagascar (IPM). Another important milestone is that after completing a dose escalation trial in HIV uninfected adults, a Phase 2 study in HIV-infected adults started in 2024 to determine whether MTBVAC is safe in this population. This ongoing trial at 16 sites in South Africa – involving the vaccination of 276 adults – is evaluating safety and immunogenicity in HIV-negative and HIV-positive adults and adolescents vaccinated with MTBVAC. A Phase 2b efficacy study in adolescents and adults is planned to start in the second half of 2024 in Sub-Saharan Africa. Source: Healthworld

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2 government doctors ‘reeking of alcohol’ at hospital in dry Maharashtra district booked

Mar 26,2024 NAGPUR: Two govt doctors have been booked in Maharashtra’s Wardha district, where prohibition is in force, after they were found in an inebriated condition while examining a child at Pulgaon rural hospital, police said. Dr Pravesh Dhamane and Dr Maniklal Raut were found “reeking of alcohol” on duty and a bottle containing around 180ml leftover liquor was recovered from their car, police said. Various sections of Maharashtra Prohibition Act have been invoked against them. Their blood samples have been collected and sent for testing to Regional Forensic Science Laboratory in Nagpur. Sources said the incident occurred on Thursday. The child’s family and friends were furious on finding the doctors drunk. The family alerted Wardha police control room. A mob gathered at the hospital by the time police reached there, sources said, adding the offence was registered on Thursday night. A video of the incident also went viral on social media. Probationary IPS officer Rahul Chavan, holding charge as Pulgaon SDPO, said while offence has been registered, the state health department would be informed. Deputy director of health services Dr Kanchan Wanere said an inquiry has been initiated under assistant director of medical services Dr Pramod Gavai. “We are waiting for the report to initiate further action,” she said. Pulgaon rural hospital functions without doctors most of the times, said social worker Ankush Koche, who was approached by the aggrieved family. “When the family brought the child suffering from fever to the hospital, the nurse there refused to administer medicine citing absence of doctors,” he said. Seeing no option, he called up district civil surgeon Dr Sachin Tadas, who sent Dr Dhamane and Dr Raut to the hospital. Dr Tadas neither responded to TOI calls nor replied to text messages. Dr Gavai, who visited the hospital on Sunday, said he will inquire into allegations. “Let police find out whether the two were under the influence of alcohol,” he said. Source: Healthworld

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Two patients’ blood bags swapped at Pune’s Aundh hospital: How transfusion error can cause ‘kidney failure to death’

Mar 26,2024 PUNE: Two patients, including a senior citizen, undergoing treatment on beds next to each other at Aundh Civil Hospital were transfused with the wrong blood group, in a major mix-up on Saturday, landing both the patients in ICU. Doctors said the patients did not show any major reaction and were under observation. The patients, one suffering from anaemia (70+) and another (54) admitted with swelling in the stomach and limbs, were advised blood transfusion. While one has B+ blood group, another is A+, the hospital said. Confirming the goof-up, civil surgeon at Aundh Civil Hospital Dr Nagnath Yempalle said, “The blood transfusion was stopped immediately after the patient aged above 70 complained of uneasiness. Preliminary report stated that the patient was recommended blood transfusion to boost immunity and increase haemoglobin count. The treating doctor checked both the patients thoroughly and mentioned their blood groups too before the transfusion. It has been brought to my notice that the nurse attending to the patients mistakenly switched the blood pouches at the time of transfusion.” The civil surgeon said the mix-up, however, did not lead to any major ‘reaction’ in the two patients. “But we do accept that this is a major mistake. We have launched an enquiry into the issue and sent the nurse responsible on a forced leave. A three-member committee has been formed to look into the incident, findings of which will be submitted to the deputy director of health for further action.” When contacted, deputy director of health services, Pune region, Dr Radhakishan Pawar said, “Strict action will be taken against those found guilty after the report is received from the hospital panel,” Dr Pawar said. The relatives of the two patients alleged that the nurse was busy on her phone during the blood transfusion. Son of the 54-year-old patient told TOI, “My dad was admitted to the hospital on Thursday for swelling in the stomach and limbs. We were told on Saturday that he would be discharged from the hospital the next day. However, while the blood transfusion was underway, the relative of the patient (70+) occupying bed next to my father’s happened to notice wrong name on the blood pouch and raised an alarm. My father and the other patient were then immediately shifted to the ICU.” He said the doctors told him that his father was stable and the other patient was passing blood in the urine. “The nurse was busy on her phone during the transfusion, resulting in the swapping of the blood pouches. My father will be under observation for 72 hours for any signs of reaction. So, it will be only by Tuesday evening that we will know the exact health status,” the son said. According to experts, if the recipient’s body is transfused with the wrong blood type reaction can occur in the recipient about 24 hours after receiving the blood or may occur during blood transfusion. Dr Ameet Dravid, infectious disease specialist at Noble Hospital, said, “The blood is grouped into A, B, O and AB types, which are either either RH negative or positive. While O+ is a universal donor, AB+ is a universal recipient irrespective of the RH type.” He said if an A+ person is given a B+ blood group, it can lead to haemolysis, a process wherein the body’s immune system begins to attack the red blood cells perceiving them as ‘foreign objects’. “This can further result in reactions as serious as kidney shutdown or liver shutdown or even death. The consequences can be serious, especially when the patient is already weak. In such a case, the first thing to do is to stop the transfusion immediately and shift the patient to the ICU. The patient can then be provided with steroids to calm down the immune system,” Dr Dravid said. On Saturday, MLA Ashwini Jagtap also visited the hospital and enquired about the health of the patients. She directed the administration to take strictest action against those found guilty. Source: Healthworld

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Ayush Treatment to Get Insurance Coverage: CII AYUSH Conclave

Mar 24,2024 The 7th CII AYUSH Conclave, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry was held on Friday on the theme “Emerging trends in AYUSH: Unleashing the market potential” at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. The conclave has brought together opinion and thought leaders from AYUSH industry, Academicians, Practitioners, Central and State Government Stakeholders, Innovators/start-ups, Medical and Healthcare professionals of Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy. The conclave highlighted measures for positioning AYUSH products in global marketplace, demand generation and future scope. It also witnessed discussions on the role of AYUSH in achieving universal health coverage, the entrepreneurship ecosystem of the sector and modern-day perspective on AYUSH. Padmashri Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha, Secretary, Ministry of AYUSH draw attention of the stakeholders towards how AYUSH sector has achieved a value of 24 billion in 10 years. Dr. Batra’s, Global Homoeopathic Federation (GHF) and The Homoeopathic Medical Association of India (HMAI) represented Homoeopathy in the Conclave by Dr.Tushar Mittal, Dr.Sreevals Menon, Dr.Praveen , Dr. Shivang Shrinivasan Mr. S.B.Dangayach and Dr.A.K.Gupta Secretary General HMAI respectively. Dr. Kanwal Sethi, Dr.Poonam Chablani, Dr.Nilanjana Basu and Dr.Rajender Singh were also present . Dr. Tushar Mittal , Mr. Dangayach and Dr.Sreevals were among the Panelists and share their views.Dr.A.K.Gupta, Dr. Shivang and Dr.Nilanjana too actively participated by putting questions and suggestions.Recommendations and a detail work on impact of UHC was sent and also sRecommendations from Homeopathy to CII Need of equal opportunities for public in a renewed Insurance ecosystem by inclusion of centuries old pluralistic healthcare heritage, and not leaving at odds on Homeopathy as second largest international healthcare option. Insurance sector to recognize choice of Homeopathy as a safe & economic healthcare solution used either in complementary mode of treatment used with standard medical practices or as Integrative or alternative treatment in place of conventional medicine. Deep, uniform presence and ever growing statistics of Homeopathy in public healthcare systems in many states and in central government healthcare facilities apart from collegiate and research facilities proves the growing demand. Coverage for Homeopathy can help access to much more beneficiaries in terms of insurance coverage. Adoption of digital technology promote more standardized treatment methods in Homoeopathy sector as seen making insurance engagement easier. Integration of Homeopathy to AYUSHMAN BHARAT DIGITAL MISSION shall streamline beneficiary data and data transfer across different treatment modalities and sectors enabling care, choice’s and coverages easier and free flowing. Homeopathy strength in Autoimmune Disorders, Pediatrics, Antenatal care, NCDs, Behavioural Disorders etc. shall make its insurance engagement open up more choice’s, satisfaction and appreciation. A decade and half long engagement of Homeopathy Hospital based care in quality accreditation/NABH-Ayush domain as a regulatable entity exercised across a fair fraction of collegiate hospitals effectively adds to enhanced accountability in insurance adaptation. Entry level accreditation of clinic’s launched as well. OPD Care predominance in Homeopathy, Drug Safety, Alternative & Complementary engagement possibility with conventional medicine, detoxification possibilities and capability to have Integrable models with Homeopathy in end of life care, all can extend safe choices making Healthcare & Insurance more complete. Progressive evidence of possibilities of Homeopathy in AMR, extensive solutions in viral diseases, in vitro studies establishing Homeopathy effective in M.D.R.T.B cases can all add value from Homeopathy systematic inclusion in the standard insurance palette.Mr. Dangayach advocated for the Homoeopathic Nosodes to be tried extensively and can be used akin to Vaccination . Source: Sarkaritel

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International Diabetes Federation position statement recommends use of 1-hour plasma glucose test to diagnose prediabetes and type 2 diabetes

Mar 23,2024 The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) based at Belgium is a federation of around 200 diabetes associations based in countries around the world. The IDF has released a Position Statement that presents the 1-hour post-load plasma glucose (1-h PG) test as a more sensitive and practical method to screen for intermediate hyperglycaemia (IH), (earlier known as Pre-Diabetes) and type 2 diabetes(T2D) in people at risk. The Statement was prepared by an international panel of 22 experts from 15 countries and presented recently at the 17th International Conference on Advanced Technologies & Treatments for Diabetes (ATTD) in Florence, Italy and was published online in the journal of Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice. Dr V. Mohan, Chairman, Madras Diabetes Research Foundation and Dr Mohan;s Diabetes Specialities Centre represented India on this panel. The Statement recommends the use of 1-h PG with the validated cut points of 155 mg/dL (8.6 mmol/L) for diagnosing IH and 209 mg/dL(11.6 mmol/L) for diagnosing T2D. IH, earlier referred to as “prediabetes,” is a state between normal glucose regulation (NGR) and T2D. It includes two types of IH or prediabetes namelyImpaired fasting glycaemia (IFG) and impaired glucose tolerance (IGT). Many individuals with IH as defined by current diagnostic criteria, will progress to T2D. Evidence shows that T2D can be prevented by lifestyle modification and/or medications in people with IGT diagnosed by 2-h PG during a 75-gram oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). Given the continued rising prevalence of diabetes worldwide, a more sensitive and practical method is therefore needed to detect people with IH and T2D for early diagnosis and intervention. A wealth of epidemiological data has confirmed the superior value of 1-h PG over fasting PG (FPG), glycated haemoglobin (HbA 1c) and 2-h PG in populations of different ethnicity, sex and age. The IDF Position Statement reviews findings that the 1-h post-load PG> 155 mg/dL (8.6 mmol/L) in those with a normal FPG and 2hr PG during an OGTT which would have been labelled as ‘normal’ earlier is highly predictive for detecting people at risk of progression to T2D, micro- and macrovascular complications, obstructive sleep apnoea, cystic fibrosis-related diabetes, metabolic dysfunction-associated steatotic liver disease, and premature death. Importantly, by using the 1-h PG cut points of .155 mg/dL(8.6 mmol/L) for diagnosing IH and 209 mg/dL (11.6 mmol/L) for diagnosing T2D, people at risk can be detected earlier than with the currently recommended glycaemic thresholds. Therefore, the IDF Position Statement recommends the adoption of 1-h PG with the aforementioned cut points during routine OGTT measurements at all laboratories. Presenting the Position Statement at ATTD, Professor Michael Bergman, who co-chaired the Expert Panel with Professor Jaakko Tuomilehto, said that there are many people who would not be diagnosed through an HbA1c or FPG test but who would, if given an OGTT, be more likely to be detected as having IH or T2D. The 1-h PG has been found to be a more sensitive biomarker for the earlier identification of these high-risk individuals he added. The IDF Position Statement proposes the following pathway for detecting IH (Pre-diabetes) and T2D. People determined to be at high-risk for T2D through a validated screening tool (e.g. Indian Diabetes Risk Score (IDRS)Finnish FINDRISC, ADA risk score) should undergo a 75-gram 1-h OGTT after an overnight fast. People with a1-hPG value at or above 155 mg/dL(8.6mmol/L) are considered to have IH and should be prescribed lifestyle intervention and referred to a diabetes prevention programme. People with a1-hPG value at or above 209 mg/dL (11.6 mmol/L) are considered to have T2D. They should have a repeat test to confirm the diagnosis and then be referred for further evaluation and treatment of their diabetes. Years ago, the original OGTT test was a 5 sample test and comprised of fasting, 30, 60, 90 and 120 mins. Later, this was modified to just fasting and 2 hr sample. However, we have always advocated the continuation of the 1 hr test during the OGTT, as a raised 1 hr value in those with normal fasting and 2 hr glucose values is predictive of future diabetes. Our own published follow up studies have clearly shown this and I am very happy that all our Indian data was included in this IDF Position Statement. My recommendation to all labs and Diabetes and Endocrine centres in India is to include the 1 hr value along with the fasting and 2 hr value when doing an OGTT as it will identify an earlier stage, in the natural history of diabetes at which stage reversal or remission of diabetes is much easier. The expert IDF panel was co-chaired by Professor Michael Bergman, Professor of Medicine and Population Health at New York University Grossman School of Medicine, New York City and Professor Jaakko Tuomilehto, Professor Emeritus of Public Health, University of Helsinki, Finland, and Visiting Scientist, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland. Leadership and support for this initiative was provided by Professor Akhtar Hussain, President of the International Diabetes Federation, Professor (Diabetes & Metabolic Disorder) NORD University, Boda, Norway and Professor Antonio Ceriello IRCCS MultiMedica, Milan, Italy. Source: Healthworld

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Dual kidney transplant on patient under dialysis performed at AIIMS-Delhi

Mar 17,2024 New Delhi: A dual kidney transplant on a patient who was on dialysis was performed for the first time at the AIIMS-Delhi, the hospital has said. The procedure was conducted by the AIIMS’ department of surgical disciplines and department of nephrology in collaboration with the Organ Retrieval Banking Organisation (ORBO). The donor was a 78-year-old woman, who was admitted to the AIIMS’ Trauma Centre on December 19 with a severe head injury after suffering a fall, and later, declared brain dead, Dr Asuri Krishna, additional professor of surgery at the hospital said. Her family consented for organ donation, he said. “The challenge was that because of her extreme age, her single kidney would not have been sufficient for a patient on dialysis. Therefore, a decision was taken to use both the kidneys in a single recipient,” Krishna said. The recipient was a 51-year-old women on dialysis. “She urgently needed a kidney,” he said. The surgery was carried out on December 22 last year by the transplant team of the surgery unit. The doctor said this feat was being shared with the media now as “we wanted to ensure the patient is doing well”. In the surgery, both the kidneys were placed on the right side of the recipient, one on top of the other, the doctor said. “The procedure was complex because we had to place two kidneys in a restricted area. Usually, one kidney is transplanted,” Krishna said and added that the recipient had an uneventful recovery with both the kidneys performing well following the surgery. “This one-of-a-kind surgery is a great example of using limited resources to bridge the huge demand and supply gap that exists for organs in India by using the organs from an elderly donor which usually would have been rejected,” he said. The patient has been on follow-up since the surgery took place. She was discharged within three weeks of being operated, Dr Krishna said. “We wanted to ensure the patient is doing well before reporting this dual transplant in the media,” the doctor said. Source: Healthworld

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Imported human eggs for fertility treatment found to carry Hemophilia B

Mar 18,2024 Tel Aviv: Israel’s Ministry of Health reported that fertilised eggs for the purpose of in vitro fertilization (IVF) of women in the country were imported from a clinic in Georgia called BIRTH that came from a donor who is a carrier of the genetic disease Hemophilia B. Hemophilia B, also known as Christmas disease, is an inherited bleeding disorder caused by a lack of blood clotting factor IX. Factor IX is a protein in the blood that helps blood clot. When there is not enough factor IX, people with hemophilia B bleed for a longer time than usual after an injury or surgery. They may also bleed internally, into their joints or muscles. According to the suspicion, the information about eggs having these genetic carriers was available to the staff at the clinics both abroad and in Israel; however, the embryos were transferred to Israel anyway and the fertilised eggs were even implanted into a number of Israeli patients. In response, the Commissioner of Public Acceptance ordered the establishment of an inspection committee that worked in cooperation with the attorney’s office and the Israel Police to clarify the suspicions. At the same time, the Ministry of Health said it took “immediate steps” and decided was not to allow, at this stage, the continued import of eggs and fertilized eggs from this unit. The Ministry of Health also ordered all managers of IVF units in Israel to locate the women for whom eggs were imported from the unit in question, in order to inform them of the risk and allow them to make an informed decision regarding the use of these eggs. (ANI/TPS) Source: Healthworld

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Health supplements recalled as 26 hospitalised in Japan

Mar 26,2024 Tokyo, Mar 25, 2024 -A Japanese drugmaker said Monday that 26 people had been hospitalised in relation to health supplements the company has recalled because of concerns over kidney problems. The prescription-free supplements contain a type of yeast-fermented rice called “beni koji”, which Kobayashi Pharmaceutical reportedly says it has supplied to around 50 other firms worldwide. The drugmaker on Friday said it was voluntarily recalling three products containing beni koji, which aims to lower bad cholesterol, after customer complaints. On Monday the Osaka-based firm said it was aware of 26 hospitalisations, but had “not yet reached a conclusion” on a potential link between the product and kidney issues. “After analysis… we found a possibility that the raw materials used to make beni koji may contain ingredients that our company had not intended to include,” Kobayashi Pharmaceutical said. Source: Pharma

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IRDAI retains existing surrender value norms after pushback from industry

Mar 26,2024 The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has retained the existing surrender values for life insurance policies, following concerns raised by life insurers, according to the gazette notification issued later last week. The regulator also permitted sale of Index Linked Insurance Products, where the Net Asset Value (NAV) is linked to publicly available indexes IRDAI decided to retain the regulations after it suggested an increase in the initial proposals in the draft regulations in surrender values, which had raised worries within the industry about potential higher short-term exits by policyholders. For example, the guaranteed surrender value for regular pay is 30% if surrendered in the second year, 35% in third year, 50% between 4 to 7 years, and 90% during the last 2 years. For single premium products, the guaranteed surrender value will be 75% of the total premium paid if surrendered within three years, 90% within the last two years of the policy period. Earlier, the draft regulations had proposed higher surrender values for policyholders, which could have encouraged exits from long-term life insurance policies in the short term, industry had represented. However, after considering industry’s feedback that could be caused by increased surrender values, IRDAI decided to retain it. IRDAI has recognised Index Linked Insurance Products where the Net Asset Value (NAV) is linked to publicly available indexes. On non-linked insurance products, the regulator has said that benefits in non-linked insurance savings products should be guaranteed in terms of an absolute amount at the policy’s inception to give policyholders clarity and certainty regarding the benefits they can expect. In savings products, excluding terms with return of insurance premium, the regulator has said that survival & maturity benefits should be guaranteed and result in a non-zero positive return to policyholders to ensure that policyholders receive value from their savings products. The regulator has said that pension products issued to individual customers should have defined assured benefits, which could be payable either on death or any health contingency, if covered. Also, they should be payable upon vesting under non-linked pension products, with the exception of linked pension products where it is optional to pay the defined assured benefit upon vesting. In case of discontinuation in linked policies after 5 years, the regulator has said that customer can surrender and surrender value, which is unit fund value on the date of surrender paid or if the customer does revive the policy within 3 years of first unpaid premium, policy should terminate and fund value should be paid at the end of revival period. IRDAI has asked insurers to classify all insurance products offered by life insurers either under linked insurance products or under non-linked insurance products. Source: Healthworld

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