Suja Nair Shirodkar, Mumbai
The Ayurvedic Drug Manufacturers’ Association (ADMA) has urged Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad to amend the drug procurement policy of Ayurveda, Siddha & Unnani (ASU) drugs for National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) to include private sectors which is now restricted only to the public sector units.
Taking strong exception to the fact that the state agencies are procuring ASU drugs only from PSUs like TAMPCOL, Oushadhi, Indian medicines pharmaceutical corporation Ltd. (IMPCL), etc on the insistence of department of Ayush for ensuring quality of medicines, ADMA said, “The insinuation that medicines from the private sector are not of standard quality is blasphemous, objectionable and we are surprised that a nodal department like yourself carries such impression in its macro vision and does not apply the rules of the exception in the overall policy framework.”
ADMA and Ayurveda, Siddha, Unnani (ASU) industry associations have sought the minister’s intervention in the matter in amending the policy guidelines so that equal opportunity can be provided for all in the industry. Under the present policy, procurement of medicines for the national rural health mission (NRHM) or other public health schemes can only be done from PSU undertakings.
ADMA president Pramod Sharma said that the association wanted the Department of Ayush to start the process of a cabinet submission amending these policy guidelines. He pointed out that the policy to keep the PSU undertakings viable through an artificial and unfair business model is only hastening their journey to eventual unsustainable operations. These PSU’s are welcome for competition and should stand on level playing field with ASU industry in the general whilst bidding for tenders supplying ASU formulation in the public health system.