Recognising the popularity of the AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) sector abroad, the Government has intensified its efforts to engage with other countries in a more structured and concrete manner by initiating a slew of measures such as setting up of Academic Chairs, patenting the medicines and focusing on Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).
Among several steps to boost Indian Traditional medicines abroad, we are in the process of inking pact with at least 45 countries to undertake research and academic activities in the AYUSH sector. The Government has already signed agreement with eleven countries like China, Hungry and Germany, Shripad Yesso Naik, Union Minister of AYUSH said on the sidelines of the flagging of first-ever ‘Run for Ayurveda’ here on Sunday.
The event which saw participation of over 2,000 people, was organised by the Ministry and Delhi-based All India Institute of Ayurveda, the first-ever national institute dedicated for ayurveda which was inaugurated by Prime Minister last year.
Dr Tanuja Manoj Nesari, Director, AIIA said that over 5000 years old, the ancient sciences has faced many challenges in the modern era but we still witness the resurgence of the discipline as an alternative to western allopathic medicine.
Sanchit Sharma, Executive Director of Aimil Pharma which is engaged in manufacturing herbal drugs like BGR-34 for diabetes treatment felt that signing of MoU with other countries will ensure that Ayurveda and other traditional medicinal systems and AYUSH drugs get recognition abroad. Many herbal drugs here are developed after following due scientific process as per the global norms, he added.
For instance, the anti-diabetic herbal drug BGR-34, widely accepted Saheli contraceptive pills besides other drugs are scientifically validated by the government’s top research agency scientific research body, Council for Science and Industrial Research (CSIR). The Central Council for Research in Unani Medicine (CCRUM) which has developed drugs for filariasis, hepatitis, ulcer, vitiligo and malaria has filed for patent.
The Ayush Ministry official attributed the growing demand to the cost-effectiveness and minimal side effects of the herbal drugs which are being used to treat diseases like obesity, hypertension, diabetes related to drastic changes in lifestyle, dietetic habits, increased industrialisation, and pollution.
In yet another move aimed at making alternative medicines and formulations to compete in global markets, the Department of Pharmaceuticals has allocated a budget of Rs 144 crore for 2018-2020 under its one of the schemes wherein at least 250 small and medium scale AYUSH pharmaceutical units–for both bulk drugs and pharmaceutical formulations will be given financial support for upgradation of the plant and machinery to World Health Organization (WHO)/Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) standards.
In fact, the AYUSH Ministry has already signed a project collaboration agreement (PCS) with the WHO for cooperation on promoting the quality, safety and effectiveness of service provision in traditional and complementary medicine.
According to the WHO, the global herbal market is estimated to reach about $5 trillion by 2050 from the current level of $6.2 billion.