Government Notifications
Plan panel wants national institute on Sowa-Rigpa
The ancient Tibetan medicinal system believed to have been taught by Buddha himself - Sowa Rigpa -- is all set to get a major boost. The Planning Commission's working group on Ayush (department of ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, siddha and homoeopathy) for the 12th five year plan has proposed the setting up a Rs 100 crore National Institute of Sowa-Rigpa.

The institute will have facilities for undergraduate and post-graduate education and provision of clinical services through a well-equipped hospital. The group has also proposed setting up a Central Council for Research in Sowa-Rigpa. Health ministry officials said unlike other Indian systems of medicine and homeopathy, Sowa-Rigpa has not been explored scientifically and standards of drugs, therapies and procedures are lacking.

Sowa-Rigpa, commonly known as 'Amchi', is one of the oldest surviving systems of medicine in the world, popular in the Himalayan region. This system is practiced in Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Darjeeling, Lahaul and Spiti (Himachal Pradesh) and Ladakh region. The theory and practices of Sowa-Rigpa are similar to ayurveda, and also includes principles of traditional Chinese medicine. The Rajya Sabha in 2010 passed a bill to include Sowa-Rigpa under the Indian systems of medicine.

The commision's report said, "Sowa-Rigpa is presently in the hands of some institutes run by Tibetan bodies in trans-Himalayan region. Some sort of financial support is provided to these institutions from the government. However, the infrastructural facilities there are not sufficient to meet the aspirations of the students who choose to study Sowa-Rigpa for a professional career. As Sowa-Rigpa has been accorded state patronage, a dedicated institute of the system is required that may lead to develop benchmark standards of education, patients' care and postgraduate research and impart professional training to produce skilled manpower."

The committee has also asked for an Rs 50 crore allocations towards setting up of the council. Sowa-Rigpa has been popularly practice in Tibet, Magnolia, Bhutan, some parts of China, Nepal and few parts of former Soviet Union.
Regulatory body mulled to revive herbal drug industry
New Delhi, 27 March 2012

With its herbal drugs industry failing to make an impressive dent in the $ 62 billion global market that is currently dominated by China, a working group of the Planning Commission has proposed the creation of a regulator to oversee quality of traditional Indian medicines to ensure its greater acceptability. The working group - which has suggested a roadmap - has called for creating the Central Drug Controller for Ayush Drugs - on the lines of the Drug Controller of India (DCGI) which regulates allopathic drug industry in the country - in the 12th Five-year Plan.

The world herbal market is estimated to be $62 billion, out of which the share of China is $19 billion and that of India is only $1billion, even though the demand for such products is on the rise. There are around 10,000 ASU Drugs manufacturing units in the country at present.

“Under the Central Drug Controller for Ayush Drugs, 40 posts including 25 regular and 15 contractual/outsourced posts will be created and in addition salaries of scientific manpower in 30 State government-run drug testing laboratories will be borne during the 12th Plan period,” the working group headed by Ayush Secretary Anil Kumar has proposed. The panel has also sought to provide allocation of Rs 1010.50 crore in the 12th Plan for supporting the development of common facilities at least for one industry cluster in each State, encouraging increased participation of industry in fairs/exhibitions for exposition of AYUSH and for conducting various relevant activities of industry interest.

The panel has also proposed to set up hi-tech quality control laboratories under Ayush Research Councils in the 12th Plan with an aim to expand the quality control base of highest standards and for the testing of exported/imported the herbal drugs.
Ayush Dept plans Rs.105 cr boost to improve ASU, Homoeopathy drugs by strengthening labs
The Department of Ayush will strengthen the key laboratories in the Indian systems of medicines with a view to improve the overall quality of drugs in the sector. The Department has proposed an increase in the quantum of allocation for this scheme which is meant to support Pharmacopoeial Laboratory of Indian Medicine (PLIM)-Ghaziabad, Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia Laboratory (HPL) -Ghaziabad and Public Sector drug manufacturing undertaking–Indian Medicines Pharmaceutical Corporation Limited (IMPCL), Mohan (Uttarakhand).

11th Plan achievements of significance until March 2011 included development of identity and quality standards of 256 ASU & 92 homoeopathic drugs, quality testing of 1342 ASU and 3709 homoeopathic samples and conduct of 31 workshops/training programs by the Pharmacopoeia Laboratories. Detailed capacity enhancement project of IMPCL worth Rs.33.86 crore was also carried out during the period.

Mid-term appraisal of the scheme in 11th Plan realised the need to accelerate the work of laying down pharmacopoieal standards and quality control, and recommended for IMPCL additional share capital to facilitate modernization and introduction of new technology to enhance quality production of drugs and turnover in business.
AYUSH to be included in national health schemes
The Centre is planning to launch a special scheme for delivery of healthcare services in 100 out of 264 focus districts across the country where the health indicators are very low, by integrating allopathic and other Indian systems of medicine soon.

Under the scheme, joint teams of doctors of allopathy, Ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and homoeopathy systems of medicine will visit villages frequently to bring about an improvement in the general health condition of people.

This was stated by Mr. Anil Kumar, Secretary, Department of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) on the inauguration of a national workshop on ‘Clinical Research Methodology in Unani Medicine'.

Modalities were being worked out to include AYUSH systems of medicine in all national health programmes within two years, he noted. Admitting that there was an immediate need to validate methodology of treatment of diseases in Indian systems of medicine, Mr. Anil Kumar said it was possible only by raising the bar of quality of AYUSH education and research.

He asked the researchers of AYUSH to develop protocols unique to the Indian systems of medicine and by taking care that they were also acceptable to the other side (allopathic system of medicine).

Syed Shakir Jamil, Director General, Central Council for Research in Unani Medicine, Mohammad Miyan, Vice-Chancellor of Maulana Azad National Urdu University, and others spoke at the workshop organised by Hyderabad-based Central Research Institute of Unani Medicine (CRIUM).