As per information available with the Ministry of AYUSH, there are 7835 licensed manufacturers of Ayurvedic medicines and 1209 manufacturers of Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathic medicines in the country as on April 1, 2014.
Sharing this information the Minister of State, AYUSH (Independent Charge), Shripad Yesso Naik in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha on March 20 said that certain medicinal plants are threatened and endangered causing their short supply, due to which the industry perceives difficulties in the procurement of medicinal plant materials like Guggul (Commiphora wightii), Katuki (Picrorrhiza Kurroa) , Kuth (Saussurea lappa), Jatamansi (Nardostachys Jatamansi) etc.
Government of India has set up National Medicinal Plants Board under the Ministry of AYUSH for overall development of the medicinal plants sector including conservation, cultivation, processing and storage of medicinal and aromatic plants for promoting the availability of herbal raw materials. The National Medicinal Plants Board has implemented a Central Sector Scheme for supporting conservation, development and sustainable management of medicinal plants and a Centrally Sponsored Scheme of National Mission on Medicinal Plants, which is now merged in the National AYUSH Mission notified on September 29, 2014. Through such schemes, grant-in-aid is provided to support for survey, inventorization, in-situ conservation and ex-situ conservation of medicinal plants, development of herbal gardens, linkage with Joint Forest Management Committees, research and development etc. Through National Mission on Medicinal Plants, Government has supported cultivation of medicinal plants with backward linkages for establishment of nurseries for supply of planting material etc. There is also provision for forward linkages for post-harvest management, marketing infrastructure, certification etc.
The minister further said that the government of India has set up Research Councils of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy having 80 research centres spread across the country and an extramural research scheme has been implemented to support project-based research activities. A public sector undertaking called Indian Medicines Pharmaceutical Corporation Limited has been set up to manufacture Ayurvedic and Unani medicines. 46 state pharmacies have been supported through the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Drugs Quality Control.
Major initiatives taken by the Government for improving the manufacturing of quality medicines and their trade and export include the following-
i. Publication of Ayurvedic, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathic (ASU&H) Pharmacopeias containing quality standards of 600 single drugs & 152 compound formulations of Ayurveda, 139 single drugs of Siddha, 298 single drugs and 100 compound formulations of Unani and 1016 Homoeopathic drugs respectively.
ii. Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) have been notified, which are legally mandatory for licensing of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homeopathic drugs.
iii. Pharmacopoeia Commission for Indian Medicine & Homoeopathy has been established to address quality concerns and accelerate the work of development of quality standards of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathic medicines.
iv. WHO Certification System and voluntary certification of quality of Ayurvedic, Siddha and Unani medicines have been implemented by the Central Drug Standards Control Organization and Quality Council of India respectively.
v. Shelf life or date of expiry of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani AND Homoeopathic medicines has been notified under Drugs and Cosmetics Rules.
vi. 27 State Drug Testing Laboratories and 46 State Pharmacies have been provided financial assistance for strengthening of infrastructure and functional capacity and a component of Drugs Quality Control is provided in the National AYUSH Mission to support the state initiatives.
vii. 39 Drug Testing Laboratories are approved for testing of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathic drugs under the provisions of Drugs & Cosmetics Rules 1945.
viii. Provisions have been made in the International Cooperation scheme to support the manufacturers for promoting export by registration of AYUSH products in the foreign markets, development of drug dossiers and participation in international fairs & exhibitions.