Nov 9, 2013

Ban on adding prefix or suffix in ayurvedic drugs

VARANASI: The classical ayurvedic medicines being sold with prefixes and suffixes have been banned by ministry of health and family welfare on October 29. Regional coordinator, Pharmacovigilance of ayurvedic Medicines, northern region, Dr Anand Chaudhary, also an associate professor of Rasa Shastra at faculty of ayurveda, Banaras Hindu University ( BHU), said that many ayurvedic medicines such as Chyawanprash, Rhumayog and others are currently marketed under different brand names, with prefixes and suffixes to reflect the value added qualities.

For instance, Chyawanprash is sold under brands like Sona-Chandi Chyawanprash, Chyawanprash Special and Chyawanprash Sugar Free. Similarly, there are other products like Drakshasava Special, Rhumayog Gold, Shilajeet Gold and others. "The ban has been imposed to stop the alteration in the classical formulation of Ayurvedic medicines. The ministry of health and family, therefore, took this step under the Drug and Cosmetic Rules,' he informed.

According to Dr Chaudhary, the manufacturing companies have been provided one year transitory period to sell their already manufactured products and have been asked to stop manufacturing the product with effect from the date of the ban imposed. Notably, there are two kinds of medicines in Ayurveda; Ayurvedic Proprietary Medicines and Ayurvedic Classical Medicines. The classical medicines are the original ayurvedic formulations and the proprietary medicines are the ones which have some alteration in the original formulation of classical ayurvedic medicines.

According to Dr Chaudhary, if a company wants to continue preparing the altered ayurvedic products then it will have to change the name of the formulation and thereby stop misleading people on the name of classical preparations. Such companies will also need to take the licence of ayurvedic proprietary medicines as well to continue preparing such products.

"There is a need for public awareness regarding ayurvedic medicines. By attaching a prefix or suffixes, the original Ayurvedic products are distorted and mimicked. Most of the companies do this to change the generic names and brand their own products, many companies are also selling Chyawanprash Sugar Free, Chyawanprash Ginger and other such products, however, these are not the actual Chyawanprash as per the classical ayurvedic formulations. It is necessary for the general public to understand this difference," he said.

To comply with the same, Government of India has issued a document on 'Essential Drug List' recently. Under this as many as 277 Ayurvedic formulations for the treatment of several common and specific diseases as per the principles of ayurveda have been listed. The document is supporting the use of classical formulations in the health care system.

Efforts for including ayurveda in mainstream medicine system: In a bid to include ayurveda in the mainstream of healthcare system steps are being taken to make it more efficient and competent enough as the modern medicine system.

Officials of AYUSH, ministry of Health and Family Welfare, on their recent visit to Banaras Hindu University (BHU), have made it clear that the efforts for mainstreaming ayurveda will materialise in coming two years.

According to a member of the visiting team, in a big step towards the purpose, efforts are being taken to allow ayurvedic doctors to carry out Medical Termination of Pregnancy. This will be a major achievement for the ayurvedic sector. So far ayurvedic doctors are not allowed to terminate pregnancy in cases which need termination and patients have to consult modern medicine practitioners.

Apart from that, under the mainstreaming process, a graduate will an MD degree in ayurveda will also be able to perform ultrasound and other radiological diagnosis. This will be done by amending the Pre Natal Diagnostic Technique (PNDT) Act. The proposal for the same was made a long time back and it is expected that the amendments will be made within two year's time.


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