Considering a proposal from the AYUSH ministry, aimed at making alternative medicines and formulations to compete in global markets, the Department of Pharmaceuticals has allocated a budget of ₹144 crore for 2018-2020. Under its Pharmaceutical Technology Upgradation Assistance Scheme (PTUA), the Department of Pharmaceuticals will extend the benefits of an interest subvention to at least 250 small and medium scale AYUSH pharmaceutical units. The scheme will be available for both bulk drugs and pharmaceutical formulations. “The Department of Pharmaceuticals has finalized a scheme for the development of pharmaceuticals industry. There is a sub-scheme under it — PTUA. The objective of this sub scheme is to facilitate small and medium pharma enterprises to upgrade their plant and machinery to World Health Organization (WHO)/Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) standards so as to help them to participate and compete in global markets,” Remya Prabha Geetha, deputy director, policy, Department of Pharmaceuticals, said in her letter to the AYUSH ministry.
“Assistance in the form of interest subvention against sanctioned loan by any scheduled commercial bank/financial institution, both in public and private sector, will be provided to 250 medium enterprises of proven track record,” she said. The eligible units intending to upgrade their manufacturing infrastructure to attain WHO-GMP norms, will have to secure loan from any financial Institution for upgrading their infrastructure and technology. The upper limit of interest subvention on loans for technology/infrastructure upgradation will be restricted to 6 percent per annum for three years on a reducing balance basis. The maximum loan eligible for this purpose will be ₹4 crore, availed by the concerned SME for purpose of upgradation to WHO-GMP norms. Ayurvedic, homeopathic, Unani and Siddha medicines are gradually gaining popularity in India and abroad due to their perceived minimal side effects. Ayurvedic medicines are currently marketed in various forms in India, including tablets, pills, powders, fermentation products (Asva-arishta), decoctions, medicated fats (Ghrita and Tel). For topical use, drops, creams, lotions, liniments and ointments are also available along with dried plant extracts in capsule form.
The government has been trying to increase the export of AYUSH medicines with strict safety regulations. The AYUSH ministry has a regulation by which commercial manufacturing of Ayurvedic medicines is regulated. Manufacturers have to take prior licence from the State Drug Controlling Authority for running an Ayurvedic pharmacy. Formulations, whether classical or patent proprietary, have to be cleared from the competent authority first. The export of Ayurvedic medicines during 2016-17 is estimated to be around USD 243 million, according to the Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence & Statistics (DGCIS). According to the AYUSH ministry, most of the Ayurvedic products are suitably modified for their intended use in the international market in accordance with the importing country’s classification and acceptance, and are exported as nutraceuticals, health supplements and dietary supplements. – Livemint