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Wednesday, April 21, 2010


ISM manufacturers in TN seeks commerce ministry’s interference for increasing export of Ayush productsThursday, April 22, 2010 08:00 IST Peethaambaran Kunnathoor, ChennaiThe manufacturers of Ayush products in Tamil Nadu have appealed to the Union government to take steps to get work permits for qualified Indian ISM doctors to work in SAARC and ASEAN countries as service providers, so that export of Ayush products from India to these counties could be increased. Likewise, attempts should be made for making Indian qualifications acceptable to foreign countries.These issues were raised by the ISM manufacturers of the state in a seminar organized in Chennai by the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade in collaboration with Centre for Traditional Medicines and Research, Chennai, supported by Tamil Nadu Ayurvedic, Siddha, Unani Drug Manufacturers Association.The seminar was part of a research study, which is commissioned by Department of Ayush, to suggest guidelines to the Ministry of Commerce to boost India’s export potential of Ayush products with SAARC and ASEAN countries.According to sources from the ministry, IIFT will chalk out plans for enhancing export of products and services after bilateral discussions with these countries. The measures of IIFT will help address the Tariff and Non-Tariff barriers of SAARC and ASEAN countries to tide over the present export procedural crisis. Due to many reasons and impediments, the export of classical Ayush products from Tamil Nadu has ceased for now.The chief guest in the seminar, professor Jaideep Mukherji, director of the Research wing of IIFT said products for OTC sale, food and cosmetic products of Ayush are the items now exported from the state to these countries. The classical Ayurvedic or Siddha medicines are not being exported from Tamil Nadu at present. He said the major impediment for the failure of export is the shortage of Indian doctors in foreign countries. Further to this, the high cess levied on Indian products by foreign countries has also led to the stoppage of exports. He said IIFT will submit recommendations to the Department of Ayush based on suggestions received from various manufacturing companies.According to Mukherji, IIFT has appointed an agency from Kolkata, SRG Consultants, to collect data from Tamil Nadu and it has started the work. The data collection is based on a set of structured questions.Dr T Thirunarayanan of CTMR has made a proposal to the Ministry of Commerce through IIFT that the government should grant them 100 % subsidy for their participation in international fares. He suggested that the Indian ISM doctors could work in foreign countries as service providers provided their qualifications are accepted. He said at present Tamil Nadu sends only some cough syrups and psoriasis for external application through export channel. The system also lacks a Harmonization System Code differentiating items such as Ayush food, drug and cosmetics.Dr Vijay Mehta, president of TASUDMA, wanted the central agency that the regulatory mechanisms of different countries should be made known to the potential exporters of our country.The manufacturers have wanted that the Ayush Department should grant financial assistance for upgrading infrastructure and Lab facilities. Government should get product registration based on Indian license and specification. Further they wanted facilities for display of Ayush products and literature in the Indian cultural centres of other countries. Display space in Departure Terminals of international airports is another demand.Manufacturers from all over the state, experts in Quality Assurance from various companies, regulatory staffs, ISM industrial consultants and officials of CTMR have attended the seminar.CTMR wanted the central agency to conduct a stake holders meeting in Chennai for more interaction on the subject.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


The Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, a deemed university under the Ministry of Commerce, as part of its research study on ‘India’s Export Potential of Ayush Products with SAARC and ASEAN Countries’, held a seminar of exporters of Ayush products in Chennai, yesterday.The meeting will be held at the Seminar Hall of IMPCOPS at Thiruvanmiyur in the afternoon. IIFT has been commissioned to carry out the research study by the Department of Ayush.Dr T Thirunarayanan, secretary of Centre for Traditional Medicines and Research, Chennai, who organizes the seminar on behalf of IIFT, said the research study of IIFT is mainly aimed at looking into the prospect of India’s export potential of Ayush products in SAARC and ASEAN countries in terms of the market size, trade channels, and regulation requirements for boosting the potential of export business.He said the objective to conduct a meeting in Chennai is to explore the current export potential of Siddha, Ayurveda and Unani drugs from Tamil Nadu to these countries and to discuss government initiatives in promoting export awareness in the industry and understanding regulatory requirements of the targeted countries.Dr Vijaya Katti, professor & chairperson (Research) of Indian Institute of Foreign Trade has informed CTMR that IIFT has already started with the data collection from different database for the study and is in the process of organizing overseas survey. The team member of the Research Project, Dr Jaydeep Mukherjee, will attend the seminar for data collection here.The meeting would help IIFT in getting an overview on the market size of Traditional Medicine in SAARC and ASEAN countries, their purchasing capacity and the percentage of people from those countries consuming traditional medicines, CTMR sources said. Besides, it can assess the government initiatives to promote export awareness of Traditional Medicines in India.According to Thirunarayanan, 15 major manufacturers of ISM from Tamil Nadu and 8 Ayush experts will attend the seminar as resource persons. The experts are selected from the areas of Drug Development, Regulation and Quality Assurance.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Prevent substandard ISM drugs

People in Tamil Nadu scout for extension of inspections on ISM productsTuesday, April 06, 2010 08:00 IST Peethaambaran Kunnathoor, ChennaiEven as the investigation into the re-cycling issue of time-barred allopathic drugs in Tamil Nadu has been handed over to the state CBCID, there is a growing feeling among the people that such inspections should be extended on the Indian System of Medicines (ISM) also, as it may unearth illicit trade practices prevailing in the sector.The stern measures taken by the Chennai Police along with the drug control officials have not only unearthed huge quantum of hidden expired drugs from the godowns of drugs mafia, but also helped to expose the truth that the medicine market was hitherto controlled by a gang of drug racketeers. When a small percent of this mafia’s business could be disclosed by the Chennai police, it is hoped that the initiatives of police might help to filter and purify the drug market in the state. According to ISM industry people, such measures by regulatory and investigation agencies are called for in the herbal medicine market to purify and streamline the state’s own traditional healing system.Tamil Nadu has a unique reputation in the making and selling of herbal drugs, especially Siddha medicines whose credit has gone past the seas. The ISM division functions under a separate department which extends all its possible help for the growth of the industry, though it faces so many regulatory challenges. Unlike the allopathic pharma industry, the traditional medicine industry in the state lacks a strong organizational set-up in manufacturing and trade levels. The application of regulatory norms is less compared to that of the allopathic drug industry taking the advantage of century old history which often helps the units keep away from implementing the strictures of Ayush departments.According to sources, in Tamil Nadu, only 60 ISM manufacturing units have obtained GMP status and about 400 units are continuing operations without securing GMP certification. Many of the herbs prescribed in texts for making particular drugs are not available or unaffordable. For example, ‘Nilavembu Kudineer’ is a popular Siddha drug for viral fever. The main ingredient for the medicine is Sandal wood. Since the cost of Sandalwood is increasingly high, not all the small scale manufacturers can afford to buy it. There are reported cases of spurious and adulterated drugs in the ISM industry, but cases under Drugs & Magic Remedies Act initiated against any company by regulatory authorities are few. Big companies are expending huge amount for advertisement in print and electronic media for marketing their products which are, as per D&C Act, violation of the law.A recent incident shows the fact that strict regulation is necessary in the ISM sector also. In the year 2008, some researchers in the Boston University School of Medicine had found that one fifth of ayurvedic medicines made in the US and India, and sold in various parts America through online business were found to contain more than permissible levels of toxic metals. The study of the research fellows, which was an extension of an earlier study conducted in 2004, was published by an American Medical Journal. So to establish the authenticity and integrity of the Indian medicines, it is the duty of the government to monitor each phase of manufacturing by ensuring that the units are strictly following the GMP norms.In Chennai alone, the number of retail pharmacies selling ISM medicines has exceeded 150, and in the whole state there are more than 1500 pharmacy shops. The herbal scientist and the secretary of the Centre for Traditional Medicines and Research, Dr Thirunarayanan said many of these shops are selling herbo-mineral drugs without proper medical prescriptions. Even many consumers of these drugs are not aware of the shelf life of the medicines. The Department of Ayush has made it clear that every drug should have a shelf life and the expiry and manufacturing dates should be mentioned on the label of the medicines. This is the time the ISM drug authorities need to be cautious and proactive to avoid large scale illicit trade practices, if any in the market, to avoid disrepute to Ayush products.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Traditional Healers Meet at Kolli hills

Centre for Traditional Medicine and Research, Chennai is carrying out a project entitled ‘Documentation and Validation of Local Health Traditions’ in Salem, Namakkal, Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri districts of Tamilnadu with grant from Department of Ayush. Govt.of India. So far over 220 traditional healers have been interviewed and their healing practices documented. As Part of the field based research activity a one day ‘Traditional Healers Conference’ was organized at Block Development office Meeting Hall at Semmedu, Kolli hills in Namakkal District on 3rd April 2010. Over 80 tribal healers and 20 self-help group women leaders took part in the meeting from the different villages of Kolli hills. Eight institutionally trained Siddha physicians and field staff of ISM, forest department also took part in the meet. Dr.M.A Kumar, Deputy Advisor- Siddha and Nodal Officer for LHT projects. Department of Ayush presided over the inaugural session and delivered a lecture detailing the objective of this intervention, mainly to revive the lost healthy traditional health practices which will reduce the health expenditure burden of the community. He stressed that the traditional medical science has survived this long, mainly due to the oral traditions handed over by the healers to the next generation. He also wanted the healers to record them even if they are not immediately willing to share them. He said Govt. is for reviving the safe traditional practices while acting strict on exploitation in the name of Traditional Medicine. Dr.T.Anandan, Director i/c of Siddha Central Research institute lauded the service rendered by the traditional healers for their services to the humanity in remote forest areas. In his inaugural address he emphasized the need to live in harmony with nature, as living in harmony with nature is the cornerstone of health care in traditional medicine and appealed to the practitioners to use the medicinal plants in a sustainable way and regenerate them in home gardens,
Community parks and as hedge crop in their agricultural land.Four vaidyas Mooligai selvaraj, Ponnusamy, K.P.Varadharajan and SC Balliya presented their healing practices and appealed to other practitioners to share their experience

Dr.T.Thirunarayanan shared the findings of the research so far and the healers took active part in the deliberations which followed. Vaidya S.Usman Ali, director – CTMR made a presentation on the Plants of Kolli hills and their utility, sustainable usage techniques. Dr.Balamurugan of Rasipuram, Dr.Thamaraiselvi, Dr.Jeyabarathi and Dr. Vadivelan Siddha medical officers of Kolli hills shared the views of the institutionally trained Siddha physicians and expressed their willingness to work closely with traditional healers. Dr. G. Senthilvel of CCRAS Delhi and Dr.H.R.Vasanthi Asst. Prof of Biochemistry Sri Ramachandra Medical university were also present in the meeting to explore the possibility of future research in this area.The healers displayed the fresh plants used by them, Raw drugs used by them and rare form of medicines prepared by them. The healers also visited the medicinal plants garden maintained in the botanical garden and Vaidya. S.Usman Ali explained to them the propagation technique to be adopted for different plants.

Dr.S.Rajkumar of CTMR and Dr. Oliver king of MSSRF acted as facilitators for the vaidyas.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Book offers herbal cures for ailments

April 3: At a time when Chennai has been flooded with spurious medicines, a city college has come out with a book that can help people identify and preserve medicinal plants found in the metropolis.Medicinal Plants - Profiles and Values, published by the department of botany, DG Vaishnav College, is a first of its kind.“We have profiled more than 80 medicinal plants in this book. The uniqueness of these herbs is that they are all safe and do not have any documented adverse reaction,” said S. Narasimhan, principal, DG Vaishnav College.T. Thirunarayanan, secretary, Centre For Traditional Medicines and Research, who led the team that edited the book, said there are many medicinal plantsin the city and surrounding areas, but they selected only plants which were useful in the treatment of common ailments.“This book will hopefully reduce the need to go to the doctor with commoncold, cough, flu or headache,” said Dr Thirunarayanan.