Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss, Health & Family Welfare Minister has said that to shut out traditional medicine products on arbitrary technical barriers in the name of safety would be against the interest of patients and consumers. Dr. Ramadoss was speaking at a two day International Conclave on Traditional Medicine, which he inaugurated here today. He said that in the global society we live in today, a significant segment of population in most of the developed nations are used to traditional medicine products for generations. Hence erecting artificial non-tariff technical barriers to trade of Traditional Medicine products could infringe on their right to have products of their choice.
The Minister said that India has a strong base of traditional medicine in the form of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Yoga. We have a National Policy on AYUSH, which seeks to promote good health and out reach of health care to the people through preventive, promotive and curative AYUSH interventions, greater availability of authentic raw drugs and to integrate AYUSH in health care system. Mainstreaming of AYUSH is the key strategy under the National Rural Health Mission. India has a proper administrative set up to look after the regulation and development of Indian Systems of Medicines and Homoeopathy, in terms of Regulatory Bodies for education and practice of these systems, Drug & Cosmetics Act and Rules for regulation of traditional medicine products, he added.
Dr. Ramadoss said that an exclusive plenary Session has been scheduled on the second day of the Conclave to discuss the issues relating to legal and policy framework on Traditional Knowledge Protection in which a detailed presentation will made on the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) created by India to provide protection to more than 1,00,000 traditional medicine formulations described in Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani classical texts from mis-appropriation by issue of wrong patents based on traditional medicine knowledge which is already in public domain.
Smt. Anita Das, Secretary AYUSH in her opening address, said that international Regulatory Cooperation in Herbal Medicines (IRCH) has been set up under the aegis of WHO recently for the purpose of facilitating information sharing between regulatory authorities of member countries on the quality, safety and efficiency of TM products. The deliberations and recommendations, particularly with regard to a consensual approach on regulation of TM, can be useful inputs for IRCH. Shri Shiv Basant, Joint Secretary AYUSH welcomed the delegates. In his keynote address Dr. Nityanand, former Director, CDRI Lucknow brought out the issues, which could be addressed in the International Conclave. These are: Standardization, Safety and Clinical efficacy of traditional drugs; Creating a system of registration of traditional system of medicine; Need for an interface between traditional and modern medicine for health care; Need for regional co-operation and harmonization; Study of scientific basis of Traditional/Medicine and Need for documentation of Traditional Knowledge as has been done in India by creation of TKDL.
The Conclave is being attended by more than 350 Indian and International delegates participating from 17 countries representing Asia Pacific Traditional Medicine Network (APIMNET), SAARC, BIMSTEC, IBSA forum countries and U.S.A. The Conclave would give a boost to traditional medicine by involving participants from bio-diversity rich countries, which are the cradle of traditional medicine. The objective of this conclave is to bring Traditional Medicine on centre stage and to have a meaningful interaction between the participants from various countries and Internationally recognized experts, to deliberate on issues relating to quality control, safety, regulatory and clinical aspects, status of TM, access and benefit sharing, IPR protection, market authorization of TM products and scope for harmonization and international cooperation in TM. The recommendations of the Conclave are likely to be submitted to the Inter Governmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore to be held at Geneva as well as the International Regulatory Cooperation in Herbal Medicines (IRCH) set up recently under the aegis of the WHO.