Parliamentary Panel has slammed the Union AYUSH Ministry for adopting lackadaisical approach in taking concrete action against defaulters in order to ensure effective regulation of the alternate traditional medicines of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homeopathy (ASU&H). It has pitched in for a new stringent law to strictly deal with unscrupulous herbal drug manufacturers for misleading and duping innocent patients and playing with their lives.
The panel headed by Rajya Sabha MP Ram Gopal Yadav was of the view that merely issuing show cause notices, departmental action etc was not sufficient to check the menace of spurious drugs of ASU&H.
In its report submitted to Parliament, the panel said, “Despite repeated recommendations of the Committee to have stringent measures to tackle the problem of failed samples, the Ministry (Ayush) seems not to have done anything in this regard. The Committee takes serious note of the lackadaisical approach of the Ministry in not taking concrete action against defaulters in order to ensure effective regulation of ASU&H drugs.
“The Committee would like to emphasize that such erring manufacturers need to be brought to book and dealt with strictly for misleading and duping innocent patients and playing with their lives.
“The Committee, accordingly, recommends to the Ministry to lay down stringent regulations which can act as a deterrent for erring manufacturers.”
The panel emphasised that the Ministry must focus on increasing the credibility of AYUSH systems by promoting scientific research and upholding strict quality control of AYUSH drugs. The panel also called for increased funds to atleast 5 per cent of the total Health Budget of the Health Ministry to help boost the potential of the Ayush sector.
The Ministry last year in a written reply in Lok Sabha had stated that increasing number of misleading advertisements of AYUSH products are being reported in recent years.
About 809 complaints of advertisements pertaining to AYUSH and herbal medicines/products have been received during the period from April, 2015 to March, 2018. Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), with whom Ministry has signed a MoU for suo moto monitoring of AYUSH advertisements appearing in the media, reported 732 complaints from January 20th, 2017 to January 19, 2018.
The Ayush Ministry in December last year had issued notification prohibiting the manufacturers and agents of ASU &H drugs to not float advertisements related to any drug that are used for diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of any diseases or disorders without validating from the competent authorities.
As per the notification, the manufacturers of these drugs have to apply for the Unique Identification Number for the publication of advertisements.