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Sidha units in dilemma with few testing labs and high charges for validating their products

Peethaambaran Kunnathoor, Chennai
Monday, April 11, 2011, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Manufacturers of Siddha medicines in Tamil Nadu are facing major hardships in conducting proper validation tests for their products as there is very few government laboratories for doing the tests  and validation of ISM drugs. The high rates charged by the private labs are not affordable for most of the SSI units for conducting all the necessary tests.

Apart from this, lack of trained personnel is a hurdle faced by the existing government lab and the private labs, according to Dr P Jayaprakash Narayanan, chairman of Scientific Advisory Committee, Siddha.

He said that  as per pharmacopoeia, different tests are to be conducted for different medicines like choornam, lehyam, sindhooram, bhasmam etc. Quality test for particle size, elemental composition, test for heavy metal contents are charged heavily by the private labs. Rs.3000 is charged for each sample and every batch requires testing which becomes expensive for the manufacturers. These high charges also push up the prices of the products.

“When Tamil Nadu has a universal acclaim for its traditional Siddha medicines, the state government is not adequately supporting it by not providing infrastructure facilities and technical assistance to up-bring and promote the Siddha healing system. Either the government should upgrade the existing lab at Anna Nagar into the status of a modern testing laboratory with more trained staff, or establish one or two labs in other parts of the state. The shortage of drug testing labs is the best example of the government apathy”, the Siddha expert said.

“I am not sure that all the Siddha drugs available in the market have undergone all the validation tests, or wholly or partly tested. There are more than 900 licensees and 200 active manufacturers in Tamil Nadu. About 63 units have GMP facilities. The government has to provide all the required technical facilities for these manufacturing units ”, he added.
Dr T Thirunarayanan, the secretary of Centre for Traditional Medicines and Research’ said Ayush department has sanctioned a traditional cluster project at a cost of Rs.16 crore for the state. But those who are responsible to bring it up are delaying it after accepting a major part of the allotment. He invited the government’s immediate attention in the matter for the sake of the Siddha manufacturers of the state. He said if the cluster is made operational, the poor manufacturers of the state can avail all the testing facilities to certify and validate their products. Among other things, he emphasized the need to upgrade the state controlled lab at Annanagar which is currently conducting tests for TAMPCOL only, the state unit of ISM products.

“Labs are necessary for testing drugs of Indian systems to ensure the production of quality drugs and also to validate them to encourage acceptance. The central laboratory, Captain Srinivasa Murthy Research Institute for Drug Standardization for Ayurveda and Siddha, located at the ISM directorate premises is doing tests for private manufacturers, but it has very limited facilities and results are often delayed”, he told Pharmabiz.

Tamil Nadu has two government Siddha medical colleges and five private colleges. PG courses are conducted only in government colleges which located at Palayamcottai  and in Chennai. Private medical colleges are conducting only degree courses. Either of these government or private colleges has a separate testing laboratory for drug testing, Dr Thiruanarayanan, the former lecturer at the Chennai Siddha College said.


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