New Delhi: Indian scientists are trying to develop more affordable test strips for millions of diabetes patients in the country, Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said today.
"Diabetes is highly prevalent in the country and the strip to measure sugar level is imported as it is patented abroad and it costs Rs 30. We have now assigned the task to ICMR to develop a strip for diabetes," the Minister told reporters at a function to mark the centenary of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
"Earlier we were dependent on foreign scientists forresearch in medicine. But it is not good for a big country to be dependent on others and now we can be proud that we are doing well in research," Azad said.
India has an estimated 50.8 million people living with diabetes, the world`s largest population of diabetics.
Recalling the H1N1 outbreak, he said that within one year scientists and pharmaceutical companies in India developed the vaccine for the disease.
"Only two years ago when H1N1 was spreading which people wrongly called swine flu, even the reagent to test the disease had to be imported from America. Later when it came to the vaccine for the disease, we had to import that from abroad as well," Azad said.
"But then we gave ICMR the task to develop the vaccine for H1N1, within one year and I am proud that within one year our scientists and pharmaceutical companies developed the vaccine for H1N1," he said.
The minister said that he himself had taken the first shot of the vaccine which is more effective than the imported ones.
The reagent to test the disease was also developed within one year, he said.