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Friday, Oct 10, 2003

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Nutraceutical Summit stresses on legislation

Our Bureau

Mumbai , Oct. 9

AT the start of the first Nutraceutical Summit here, participants were upbeat about the prospects for the segment, while also emphasising the need for adequate research and development and legislation.

While the country is becoming a force to reckon with in the pharmaceutical industry and has a rich history of natural products that have a ready market worldwide, there is also a very real opportunity in the domestic market, where these products can be used to prevent and treat several lifestyle diseases, said Ms Sushma Swaraj, Minister for Health and Family Welfare, delivering the inaugural address.

What is needed is strict quality controls and clear-cut policies regarding their legislation and control, she added.

"There are a number of natural products like haldi, saunf, dhaniya and other spices, which have a rich history in India, and have found a niche market internationally, too, and it is growing at an astounding rate," Ms Swaraj said. "But we have to form clear policies, and there are legal issues: are they foods or drugs? Can they be patented? How can their efficacy and their claims be proved? So there is a crying need for a regulatory mechanism."

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