Centre for Traditional Medicine & Research and Tamil Nadu Ayurvedic, Siddha, Unani Drug Manufacturers Association organized a workshop at Hotel Palmgrove, Chennai on 26th Feb 2011 on ‘Technical obstacles in ISM drug manufacturing and Testing’ to educate its members about WHO Guidelines and Ayush Protocols issued by the Department of Ayush provided a valuable forum for exchange of views and to design practical ideas on issues faced by the ISM sector.Most of the participants including Vijay A Mehtha, president of TASUDMA, highlighted the grave issue with regard to non-availability of raw drugs. Mehtha said government should intervene into the raw drug crisis faced by the manufacturers otherwise the ISM industry in the country will suffer a lot. Most of the drugs producing companies are struggling for want of raw materials for the preparation of medicines which are getting popular in many countries.He said there are more than 6000 Siddha and Ayurveda outlets in Tamil Nadu and a host of people in various capacities are getting jobs in the manufacturing companies and in hospitals. Vijay Mehtha appealed to the government of Tamil Nadu to immediately intervene in the problems of ISM manufacturers of the state complaining that currently there is no basic ground for the industry to grow. Measure should be taken to avail sufficient quantity of raw drugs to the big and small companies, he demanded.Dr T. AnandAN, director -in-charge for the Siddha Central Research Institute, Chennai said that because of lack of modern laboratories with state-of-the-art technology, it becomes difficult to ensure hundred percent quality in drugs. There are many drugs being imported, but it is difficult to find out their botanical identity. So it is impossible to set standard of certain drugs. According to him, even the pharmacopoeia committee is facing troubles in identifying single drugs. Identity, purity and strength of the drug are standardized and published in the monograph by the Siddha pharmacopoeia committee.He further said Tamil Nadu is blessed with large quantity of flora and fauna which are used for the formulation of Siddha medicines, but it is not sufficient for the total requirement of the state.While speaking on ‘Gray areas in ISM pharmacopoeia and use of correct raw materials’, Dr Usman A Ali, director of CTMR, said farmers should be encouraged to cultivate herbs. He spoke on various types of herbs and how they were used by the traditional healers in olden days and how they are used now by the physicians today without acquiring thorough knowledge about the plants.Dr T Thirunarayanan, secretary of Centre for Traditional Medicines and Research, while speaking on WHO Guidelines and Ayush Protocols for Drug Regulations’ said that the guidelines issued by the Department of Ayush, will definitely improve not only quality of the products but also improve higher sales for the manufacturers . Quality products are the key for the ISM systems popularization both within the country and overseas. He mentioned there is no specific mention about the list of laboratories where the drugs can be tested for toxicology and efficacy studies. He said Tamil Nadu has five approved laboratories, out of which three are in Chennai, for testing the products. Universities like SRMC, Shastra, TNUVAS do have toxicology labs. But the small scale units cannot afford the expenses to be incurred to access the facilities in the approved labs. So the department should come into an agreement with the universities and institutes by signing some MoUs for the sake of small scale manufacturers.Dr Helmut Weidlich, Professor of Dr George Kurz GMBH Institute in Germany, in his speech on ‘Registration in European Union countries’ said import of medicine into European countries are approved through the national authorities for medicine. The authorities there check who distributes the medicine to their consumers. He said in the western countries, to get some medicine from a pharmacy, one has to get medical advice from the authorities.The workshop has led to a greater understanding of many of the issues involved in the manufacture, sale and export of Indian drugs and much progress has been made in the development of concepts and procedures suitable for complying with the norms of Ayush protocols.Besides senior officers from regulatory side, the workshop was attended by 40 participants from different parts of the state.