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Wednesday, Oct 02, 2002

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`Ayurveda units must adopt GMP norms'

Our Bureau

KOCHI, Oct. 1

AS many as 70 ayurvedic units in Kerala are now adhering to good manufacturing practices (GMP), according to Dr D. Ramanathan, Managing Director of Sitaram Ayurvedic Pharmacy.

Dispelling doubts as to whether small ayurvedic units in the country would be able to abide by such international practices enunciated by the World Health Organisation, he said that 62 of these units are small.

However, there are 762 ayurveda manufacturing units in Kerala. The deadline for obtaining GMP certification has been extended to December 2002.Speaking on the need to imbibe the WHO-enunciated GMP, he said that the traditional and herbal medicine business in the world is expected to surge to trillions of dollars in another 15 years.

China was able to usher in GMP to the units producing traditional systems of medicine by the early 90s, Dr Ramanathan said.

"This gave them a head start in extending traditional Chinese systems of medicine to all the developed European countries and the US."

In comparison, the traditional systems of Indian medicine including ayurveda are just beginning to get recognised in the developed world.

The absence of GMP has a lot to do with late start and lack of acceptance, according to Dr Ramanathan.

The growth for traditional systems of medicine is being fuelled by a marked shift from all synthetic forms of cosmetics and toiletry products used by the developed countries of the West to natural and herbal products.

It is to capture such markets that Indian units need to adopt GMP standards.

Ever since the GMP practices have come in vogue in ayurvedic manufacturing units, foreign exchange earnings from this sector have grown from Rs 300 crore to Rs 750 crore. "By the year 2005, it is expected to surge to Rs 5,000 crore."

According to a study conducted by the World Bank, the herbal medicine and herbal cosmetic market is expected to grow to Rs 2,50,000 crore by the year 2020.

"The potential for ayurveda is tremendous, if we are in a position to adopt and enforce GMP norms," Dr Ramanathan said.

Sitaram Ayurveda Pharmacy was one of the first ayurveda manufacturing units in the country to adopt GMP standards and attain such certification.

Now, it has become the second Indian ayurveda production unit in the country to obtain ISO 9001:2000 recognition, he added.

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