In the post-corona world, if there is a sector with a massive boom ahead, it is of alternative medicines. And as India is home to one of the oldest and highly advanced curative traditions in form of Ayurveda, it is a great opportunity that India can capitalize on, provided we have right policies in place at the earliest that will allow Ayurveda to fill the vacuum that allopathy is leaving behind.
If we don’t act soon, greedy market forces will take Ayurveda on the same path that allopathy has gone, i.e., abject commercialization sans social values.
The biggest stumbling block ahead for Ayurvedic medicines is to get legal recognition in a world where allopathic drug laws rule the roost.
As allopathic medicines pass through a process of clinical trails to get empirical confirmation for safe consumption and efficacy, the simple regulatory solution is to push Ayurvedic medicines on the same route for approval. The biggest advantage of taking such a regulatory route is that it will allow Ayurvedic medicines to access global market and if we play our IPR game properly, Indian manufacturers can enjoy the massive valuation that western drug companies have been thriving on.
The problem with allopathy-like validation for Ayurvedic medicines is that the curative logic and processes of Ayurveda are not exactly like allopathy where very direct cause-and-effect relationships are immediately visible in all medications. A lot of Ayurvedic medicines target chronic diseases and offer long-term benefits that a conventional clinical trial-based process will not be able to register or confirm. This means that establishing efficacy under the current for-allopathy framework will not be easy for all Ayurvedic medicines.
As allopathy and Ayurveda stem from different model of human body, it is also unfair to demand that a fish has to pass the test of climbing a tree.
So, what could be the way forward if we want Ayurveda to claim a place in the healthcare market?
At this point, AYUSH, the main regulatory authority has opted to solve the problem by going diametrically in opposite direction by accepting that traditional herbs and herbal formulation being in use since ages, they are exempted from seeking statutory approval used for allopathy drugs.
Such a policy may show short term gain, but what it can (and …….