Govt plans to regulate, validate Ayurvedic medicines

Govt plans to regulate, validate Ayurvedic medicines

Aiming to capture a bigger share of the multi-billion-dollar global market on traditional medicine, the Central government is set to create a new regulatory structure for medicines used in Indian systems and scientifically validate several Ayurvedic drugs.

While the proposed system would look into issues concerning better supervision of drugs, their quality and clinical trials, scientific validation of Ayurvedic drugs would help improve the industry standards of such drugs made in India.

Due to lack of standardisation and quality control issues, most Indian traditional medicines are sold abroad as food supplements, not herbal medicine.
India’s contribution to the global herbal market is miniscule compared to China and Japan, who successfully marketed their traditional medicines abroad. Their alternative therapies are well-accepted in Europe and the US.

For instance, a product like the famed Chinese aphrodisiac Ginseng has the same property as that of Ashwagandha, an Ayurvedic medicine. But Ginseng’s sale far outweighs that of all Indian herbal drugs put together.

The new steps are aimed at addressing some of these areas. “Very few Ayurvedic medicines have been validated. The Health Ministry has begun the process and validated 84 drugs so far. We still have a lot of ground to cover,” said Department of Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy secretary Nilanjan Sanyal here.

On a parallel track, a new regulatory structure is being created for better supervision of the products and to look into the need for clinical trials for drugs used in the Indian system of medicine.

“No trial is needed for drugs described in ancient texts, but they are necessary for new proprietary medicines made by companies,” said Sanyal.

As per a 2008 government estimate, there are around 8,000 drug-makers in India, but not more than 25 can be classified as large-scale manufactures. Currently, around 1,000 single drugs and about 3,000 compound formulations are registered.

India's herbal industry uses around 8,000 medicinal plants. Its annual turnover is about Rs 2,300 crore, as against the pharmaceutical industry’s turnover of Rs 14,500 crore, with a growth rate of 15 per cent.

The Centre plans to come up with a 200-bed referral hospital on Ayurveda in Delhi.
The All India Institute of Ayurveda would come up in Jasola in south Delhi, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has said. It would admit its first batch of post-graduate students in 2015-16, as the government has approved the curriculum.

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