India can become global leader of phyto-pharmaceuticals: ICMR

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Lucknow, Nov 30 (UNI) Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) has said India will emerge as a global leader in phyto-pharmaceuticals only, if the country moves away from being a raw material supplier of plants to value-added products with scientific certainty of quality, safety and efficiency.

'' Once appropriate business models are in place, the country can strategise globalisation in a staggered manner with India can offer unique market niches for diabetes, cardiovascular disorder and other aging related disorders. The postponement of some of these disorders or making their manifestations milder would save billions of dollars,'' said Dr Ashok B Vaidya, Research Director, Advanced Centre of Reverse Pharmacology.

Addressing a national interactive meet here yesterday at the CIMAP, Dr Vaidya said Botanical medicine is making new waves globally, with scientific understanding of the mechanisms of drug actions.

'' India since antiquity, has a rich healing heritage of Green Medicine and in the 21st century, the opportunities and challenges to globalise this herbal heritage are immense. We have to prioritise our market segments, based on business models, to explore the opportunities in an organised manner,'' Dr Vaidya added.

He further stated, '' for that to happen, Indian phyto-pharma should have a vision as well as a close fit of our research and development and business strategy. The unique selling propositions can apply to herbals, phyto-pharmaceuticals, Ayurvedic and modern photo-derived drugs.'' National Medicinal Plants Board, New Delhi CEO B S Sajwan, stressed upon the need for participatory approach to develop medicinal plants in the country. He said the government has launched the National Mission for Medicinal Plants during 11th Five Year Plan to identify and develop medicinal plants clusters in the country.

CIMAP Director Dr P S Ahuja said Indian herbal trade requires new direction and thrust. While planning for the sustainable production of raw material, strategies to address the crucial issues of quality, consistency and affordability are of concern.

'' For herbal extracts, formulations and other finished products to make a mark in international markets, traceability is of essence,'' he added.

Dr Ahuja said in this endeavour, R &D institutions will have the responsibility of assuring the generation of quality planting material for cultivation to the farmers and pharma/aroma industry will have to raise their understanding of compliant cultivation/processing technologies.

'' On the other hand, NGOs will have to play a more prominent role in opening avenues for buy back mechanism, creation of organised markets for raw herbs, and chain of initial post harvest processing units to bring farmers from perishable to non-perishable zone,'' he added.

Dr Ahuja said funding institutions must adopt a more dynamic approach through single window disposal functioning to provide real time help to the farmers and small entrepreneurs. Besides, the government policy makers must try to establish a '' Herbal Quality Control Authority '' to ensure a quality-driven herbal trade within and out of the country.

UNI MB JAS KK PM0447

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