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Ramesh Shankar
Wednesday, March 15, 2023, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

The Department-Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare has recently recommended to the Union Ministry of Ayush to establish a standard licensing process for Ayush drugs based on uniform parameters across all the States in the country so that the drug formulations do not vary in different States and also conform to global norms of safety and efficacy. The Committee expressed concern that the issue of Ayush drugs failing to meet global norms on safety and efficacy has not been addressed by the government. The Committee also expressed surprise that the government has not paid attention to the point highlighted by it regarding lack of uniformity in the approach of different States with respect to Ayush drugs as health is a State subject. The Committee in its report emphasised that given the increasing popularity of Ayush systems especially during Covid-19 pandemic, it is high time to showcase the effectiveness of these drugs in domestic market as well as global arena. In the report, the Committee asked the Ayush Ministry to reconsider its earlier recommendation relating to creation of a specialized body for Ayush Drug Control with requisite expertise at the State level on the lines of the vertical structure for Ayush under CDSCO and also explore the feasibility of setting up of a specialized body especially for Ayush Drugs Control at the State level. The Committee further asked the government to devise a concrete strategy to address the issue of practice of Ayush system of medicine by quacks which has eroded the faith of the public in the system. It also recommended to the Ministry to prepare a comprehensive and specific course of action to re-discover the glorious past of the Ayush system that reigned and ruled the world healthcare delivery system.

Definitely, the Parliamentary panel has stirred up a hornet’s nest. It is a fact that there is emerging opportunities in Ayush products world over as there is a growing global interest in Ayush-based solutions for disease resistance. It is an undisputed fact that Ayush products played a significant role in providing the much-needed immunity to the general public to fight the deadly coronavirus disease. The emerging evidence of a correlation between the low Covid-19 mortality rates and large-scale adoption of Ayush prophylactic solutions by the population in India is significant for the public health practice in the country. The protection offered by the Ayush systems to the common people during the pandemic neutralised the scepticism that many people had about the efficacy of the medicines and products offered by these systems. Under this background, maintaining safety and efficacy of Ayush drugs is of great significance. Indian ayurvedic drug market is estimated to be about Rs. 8,000 crores comprising of products manufactured and marketed by thousands of small, medium scale units and a dozen large companies. With the demand for ayurveda and herbal products increasing steadily in the domestic and overseas markets, consumption of these products is expected to go up substantially in the coming years. So, the government should pay heed to the Parliamentary Committee’s recommendations by emphasising upon quality control of Ayush drugs with the purpose of popularising its domestic use and global acceptance. The government should leave no stones unturned to increase the credibility of Ayush systems to meet scientific global scrutiny and scientific validation of new Ayush drugs development including pre-clinical and clinical trials to showcase its evidence based products. This will go a long way in establishing the Indian System of Medicine as an alternative system of medicine.


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