International Conference on Ayurvedic Research and Education
Documentation of scientific evidence of Ayurveda must to compete with modern medicines: MVS Valiathan
Scientific evidence of ayurvedic treatment is a must to compete with modern medicines and acceptance of Ayurveda, explained Padma Vibhushan, Professor MVS Valiathan, of the University of Hyderabad.
As ayurvedic treatment is getting increasing acceptance and popularity for its healing powers across the globe, scientific evidence with documented proofs are a must for it to sustain and compete with modern medicines.
In many cases, ayurvedic treatment has shown effective cures for deadly diseases like cancers and other aliments with least side effects, but its lack of scientific evidence with documented data is blocking it to compete with modern medicines.
To unearth the hidden secrets of ayurvedic treatment and its healing powers, doctors and researchers must work in collaboration and document all scientific evidences. Already many scientists in America and Europe have shown keen interest to work in collaboration with doctors practising Ayurveda but their Indian counterparts showed little interest, opined Valiathan.
With cancer turning into a major killer, there is a strong need for research on the age-old medicine and find cure which would save thousands of people from severe radiation, he said.
In an interview Prof. Valiathan, had said Ayurveda is not only the mother of medicine but also of all life sciences in India. In spite of it, the science has been completely divorced from Ayurveda. But these are the interdisciplinary areas where advances will take place.
“We require Ayurveda professionals to give up age-old norms and accept the treatment that is scientifically documented, researched and accepted. Only then will it become a model treatment,” he said.
The vice-chancellor in charge of University of Hyderabad, Professor E Haribabu felt that a scientific temper of research required a strong initiative from young researchers whose investigations would go a long way in propagating the age-old rasayanas.
Professor MVS Valiathan is an Indian cardiac surgeon. He grew his interest in Ayurveda as its healing powers had no side effects. He has been awarded Padma Vibhushan in the year 2005 for his exemplary contributions in the field of Medicine. He is a former president of the Indian National Science Academy and contributed to the development of medical technology in India. Currently he is a National Research Professor for the Government of India who is pioneering scientific studies in “Ayurveda” and has authored several books on the subject.
In a pre-budget memorandum to the union finance minister, the Ayurvedic Medicine Manufacturers Organisation of India (AMMOI) has sought abolition of two per cent excise duty imposed on ayurvedic products in order to protect the traditional treatment system in the country.
In the memorandum, AMMOI general secretary Dr D Ramanathan said an excise duty at a rate of two percent on ayurvedic medicines will force the system go out of reach of the common man, and the levy would become detrimental to the growth of the industry further. He noted in his memorandum that government of India in its budget 2012-13 had doubled the excise tax from one percent, the tax slab introduced in the previous fiscal year.
Dr Ramanathan argues that in the year 1997, following a representation by the manufacturers, the then finance minister P Chidmabaram had assured the parliament that no excise duty would be levied on ayurvedic medicines manufactured as per the guidelines of ayurvedic pharmacopoeia. He said the statement of the minister came in Parliament because of the intervention of ayurveda industry on the imposition of one per cent excise duty on ayurvedic medicines in the budget in 1997. Even though the finance minister had allayed all concerns of the industry and guaranteed that no excise duty would be levied on, the central government introduced 1 per cent excise duty in 2011-12 and it was raised to two per cent in the next budget.
Speaking to Pharmabiz, he said the hike in excise duty has already affected the ayurvedic industry adversely. Unless the government interferes positively in the matter, the Indian systems of medicines that have been prevailing in the healthcare scenario from time immemorial will totally cease to exist in the country. The AMMOI secretary requested the members of Parliament from Kerala to intervene in the matter and bring the issue to the attention of the prime minister.
Urging the government to reconsider the issue of this unfair taxation, the manufacturers association said its demand for withdrawal of excise duty on ayurvedic medicines should be viewed against the backdrop of shortage of raw materials and increases in their prices, rising labour cost and decline in the availability of skilled workers. The memorandum argued that there was a need to abolish the duty because the industry is currently not in a position to withstand the burden of taxation which might curtail the very growth of the age old system.
According to AMMOI, all over India there are 8000 manufacturing units for ayurvedic medicines, out of which 5000 units have well equipped GMP facilities with a turnover of Rs.8000 crore. The memorandum to the government also mentions that the central Ayush department had also requested the finance ministry to consider the demand of AMMOI for the sake of the country’s traditional healthcare system.
Vrukshayurveda 2013, an exhibition of medicinal plants with a lecture series, will be held from January 25-27 at Indradhanush hall near Mhatre bridge. The exhibition is being organised by Maharashtra State Horticulture and Medicinal Plants Board with Swapnanagri herbal farms. It will provide a platform for farmers to directly interact with ayurvedic pharmacies. Experts such as Dr Hema Sane and Dr R N Shukla will explain the concept of Nakshtra Vruksha.
Beat back pain
Hectic life, constant travel and lifestyle changes coupled with long hours of sitting at work have given rise to waist, back and spine problems. Dr Manish Sabnis (DNB Neurosurgery), brain and spine specialist, will give a health talk on dealing with low back pain and spinal problems at Sahyadri Speciality Hospital- Deccan Gymkhana on January 23 between 4 to 6 pm.
Award for excellence in eye care
The International Council of Ophthalmology, global umbrella organisation for all national and regional ophthalmological societies of the world, felicitated Dr Gullapalli N Rao, founder and chairman of LV Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI), with its “GOH Naumann Award”. Named after former president of the council and internationally renowned German ophthalmologist, this award recognises outstanding
global leadership in eye care. Dr Rao received the award at the council’s annual meeting. Dr Rao’s institute provides comprehensive eye care, sight enhancement and rehabilitation services.
Hernia conference in Berlin
Dr Mohan Desarda, hernia surgeon, will visit Germany to demonstrate a new operation technique at the international Berlin Hernia Day conference. More than 500 surgeons from Europe, the UK and the US will participate in the conference to learn advanced operation techniques. Desarda has been invited as faculty teacher and speaker for the conference to be held on January 25 and 26.
A healthy step
Birth defects in India and other South East Asian countries, its causes and preventive measures, will be the focus of the annual Pune Public Health Conference to be held at the School of Health Sciences, University of Pune. The conference — to be held on February 11 and 12 — will feature experts from the fields of public health, maternal and child health, genetics, ethics and nutrition among others.
“Delegates will discuss capacity building for genetic services in the health system, ethical and regulatory guidelines for these services, best available patient care and the essential components of a birth defects programme that can be developed in the country,” said Dr Anita Kar, chairman, Board of Studies Health Sciences and Director at Interdisciplinary School of Health Sciences University of Pune. Kar added that birth defects that cause physical and mental disability or a chronic medical condition affect about three per cent births in India. Some examples are Down Syndrome, thalassemia and neural tube defects. Registration is open till January 25.
MYSORE: District in-charge minister S ARamdas urged all Ayurveda practitioners to ensure that the richness of Ayurveda reaches all households in rural and urban areas.
He was speaking after inaugurating the two-day national workshop ‘Jignasa-13, Ayurvedic-Chinatna Manthana’ here on. The event was organized by Department of AYUSH, National Rural Health Mission, Bangalore, department of Sanskrit, Maharani’s Science College for Women and Government of Ayurveda Medical College.
“After the workshop, everyone should make a decision to spread the benefits of Ayurveda. There is a need to educate the masses on the ayurvedic plants that can be planted in our households and used without seeking a doctor,” he advised.
Minister expressed apathy that India inspite of being a Hub Ayurveda has not able to receive Nobel Prize in concerned area research.
During the programme, he announced the plan to launch ‘Mane Mane Ayurveda, Mane Mane Arogya’, a yearlong campaign in the city to reach Ayurveda to large masses.
“Sanskrit and Ayurveda are interlinked and it has the philosophical foundation of Sanskrit,” said G N Sreekantaiah , director, department of AYUSH. Sanskrit scientific literature is an explosive source of endless knowledge, he said. Ancient Ayurvedic formulas, suggestions, medicines, treatment methods, life style directions are written in Sanskrit. Sanskrit literally means something that is highly processed. Sanskrit is indeed a processed language he elaborated.
He added that Ayurveda in Sanskrit means the ‘science of life’ and the fundamental objective of Ayurveda is to uproot the disease from its root, rather than temporarily cure or suppress it.
A host of herbal plants and Ayurveda products are on display at the exhibition organized atKarnataka State Open University premises.
“A lot of plants on display are easily available at our households like tulsi, neem, brahmi, pepper and fenugreek, which can be used directly and without worrying about side effects,” Dr Mamathashree S, lecturer at Government Ayurveda Medical College, said.
In order to overcome the drug shortage crisis in the ISM hospitals in Tamil Nadu, the stakeholders including manufacturers, doctors and chronic Siddha patients have demanded to the state government to bring the drug procurement system of ISM hospitals under Tamil Nadu Medical Services Corporation (TNMSC) which has successfully been supplying medicines to allopathic hospitals in the state.
Presently, the government Siddha medical colleges, district hospitals, taluk hospitals and primary health centres are procuring drugs through different channels as there is no centralized drug procurement agency in the state to coordinate the supply of medicines in these health centres and monitor the situation, it is learnt.
According to information, medicines for the two government Siddha medical colleges working at Anna Nagar in Chennai and at Palayamkottai in Thirunelveli district are manufactured in their in-house manufacturing facilities and are not outsourcing any medicine from outside. But these facilities in the colleges are now unable to produce all the varieties of medicines required for referral hospitals, a senior Siddha doctor said.
The major flaw is lack of technically skilled staff in the pharmacies attached with the manufacturing facilities in the medical colleges. Most of the technical staff have retired from services and the vacancies are lying vacant without further appointment. The situation adversely affects not only the production of major conventional drugs, but the total healthcare management system of the hospitals as well. These two medical colleges have no provision to buy medicines from outside agencies.
As per the available drug list, the medical college pharmacies should have at least 250 varieties of drugs, but often they have a maximum number of 60 to 70 varieties, said the doctor.
Whereas, medicines for district, taluk and primary health centres are supplied by Tamil Nadu Medical Plant Farms & Herbal Medicine Corporation Limited (TAMPCOL). The drugs which are not available with TAMPCOL can be procured from private companies on submission of non-availability certificate issued by it, and the companies supplying the drugs, should have a turnover of Rs.5 crore or above. According to industry sources, there are only two Siddha manufacturing companies in Tamil Nadu which have over five crore turnover. Though the Indian Medical Practitioners Co-operative Pharmacy and Stores Limited (IMPCOPS) is a major manufacturing unit in the cooperative sector, it will not supply all the drugs to the state government hospitals because the Society will not compromise in prices, sources said.
In the case of NRHM centres attached to the PHCs, they can buy medicines either from TAMPCOL or from IMPCOPS. But state hospitals including the PHCs are unable to buy from IMPCOPS because of price variation. TAMPCOL is not able to supply the total requirement of ayurvedic products and herbo-minerals (Rasoushadhi) to a few number of ayurvedic health centres also.
Considering the situation, the stakeholders like manufacturers, doctors and patients opine that the supply of medicines to Siddha, Ayurveda and Unani hospitals should also be brought under the control of Tamil Nadu Medical Services Corporation to survive the crisis of drug shortages. In all the allopathic hospitals, the medicines are supplied by TNMSC, which has depots in all the districts. If TNMSC undertakes the supply of medicines to the ISM hospitals too, the problem of medicine shortage can be solved. Or else, the government should allow the two medical college hospitals and state hospitals to buy medicines from outside agencies, said a doctor –cum-manufacturer.