In keeping with the NDA government’s stated objective of promoting alternative systems of medicine, the country’s premier medical research council has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ayush ministry for conducting clinical trials of Ayurvedic formulations so that they become more acceptable on a global stage.
The first such trial is already on in Maharashtra for an Ayurvedic formulation for dengue. Talks are on for a second trial on a formulation used in Tamil Nadu for dengue and Chikungunya. However while the council is calling it a clinical trial the actual process would include all the usual steps of drug development including toxicity tests, animal testing and pre-clinical trials so that the medicines are at par with global standards.
“One problem with Ayurvedic formulations is that the composition varies from one person to the next. So we told them that the first requirement is standardisation, to ensure that every person who takes the drug actually gets the same medications So they took about a year to standardise the drug and come back with the medicine in the form of a pill. We will test not just the efficacy of the drug but its composition too. We will also do the toxicity tests etc it is like the usual process of drug development,” said ICMR director general Dr Soumya Swaminathan.
The Ayush ministry which is the nodal ministry for alternative systems of medicine such as Ayurveda, Siddha, homoeopathy, Unani etc, has taken a number of steps in the last few years for the promotion of Ayurveda. Prime minister Narendra Modi sometime back dedicated to the nation All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA) in Sarita Vihar built along the lines of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. On Wednesday the National Medicinal Plant Board of AYUSH along with medicinal and aromatic plants stakeholders jointly organized a one day review meeting to examine the draft of National Policy of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants. Addressing the inaugural session of the review meeting, minister of state for AYUSH, Sripad Yesso Naik said that the Medicinal Plant Sector is an ancient as well as a sunrise Sector and it provides diverse opportunities to the country. He said that India could play a leading role in the global market of herbal product and herbal drugs.
The minister also launched the “Voluntary Certification Scheme of Medicinal Plants Produce (VCSMPP)”, designed by NMPB through Quality Councils of India (QCI).