Indian herbal drug industry - Future prospects: A review

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Mr.Satish A. Polshettiwar

Mr.Satish A. Polshettiwar

Ayurveda emphasis relationship between man and plants throughout the
development of human culture.

A closure look into the history of man indicates
that botany and medicine were, for all practical purposes, synonymous fields
of knowledge. This coupled with the recent upsurge in the use of herbal medicine
due to toxicity and side effects of allopathic medicines, has led to sudden
increase in the number of herbal drug manufactures.

In India, there are about 20 well-recognized manufactures of herbal drugs
and 140 medium or small-scale manufactures. In addition, thousands of vaidyas
have their own miniature manufacturing facilities. About 1200 licensed small
manufactures in India are on record. The estimated current annual production
of herbal drugs is around Rs.100 crores. This value is low as compared to the
production allopathic pharmaceuticals, which is around Rs.800 crores. The demand
for herbal medicines is increasing and it is estimated that the production of
herbal drug may be around Rs.4000 crores in the year 2010 AD. There are 1650
herbal formulation in Indian market and number of major plants involved in their
formulation is 540.

Medicinal plants have been a major source of cure of human diseases since
time immemorial. Today, one fourth of the world population depends on traditional
medicines. Despite the introduction of antibiotics since the 1940's, even 80
per cent of the population today relies on indigenous medicinal plants and the
drugs. It is estimated that the global traditional medicine market is growing
at the rate of 7 - 15 per cent annually. The medicinal plant value is about
Rs.5000 crores in India and it is estimated that the country exports about Rs.550
crore worth of herbal drugs but with the rich and diverse botanical resources
in our country, this is not an impressive export performance considering the
worldwide herbal market worth US 60 billion dollars

The Indian manufacturers have to stress on various standardization processes
to establish their products in the global markets. Standardization starting
from production of quality materials, analysis of raw materials for authentification,
foreign matter, organoleptic evaluation, microscopic examination, extractive
values, chromatographic profiles, pesticides residue, heavy metal detection
etc. are necessary for standardization of drugs. Similarly, the standardization
methods of medicinal plants and its extracts have great importance in the fields
of cosmetics and neutraceuticals, which are emerging as two most important segments
in the global markets.

Due to the need and emphasis on quality control of drugs, chemical assay,
stability, safety assessment, pharmacokinetic studies etc. have become necessary
to establish the products and its efficacy in the global markets. Setting up
of high profile and modern R&D quality control labs have become an unavoidable
tool for herbal manufacturers to sell their products worldwide.
In order to step up quality in production and products, research and documentation
are mandatory to supply to international requirements. By referring global standards
and international pharmacopoeia like Herbal B.P., China, Japanese Herbal, Ayurvedic
Formulary of India, WHO Guidelines on Herbal Medicines, this could be met with.

If the Indian herbal industry, is to survive in the domestic and international
markets steps have to be taken to establish a good quality control mechanism,
for which the government should consider assisting the industry in setting up
a well-established unit which shall work towards excellence in standardization
of drugs to meet international requirements in the coming years.
More so, this industry should stress on upgradation of quality by improvement
of agricultural and industrial production of raw materials, preservation, innovate
quality control methods, evaluation of therapeutic value of material plants
and formulations. Further, a comprehensive network covering technical, institutional
and industry link for the development of quality of herbal drugs have to be
developed by various stockholders involved in the industry.

In order to withstand competition in the global market, it is necessary to
create a brand image, especially in cosmeceuticals and natural products. Craze
among the people for a slim body, fair skin as a fashion is growing considerably.
Out of the Rs.12,000 crores industry, Rs.700 crores belong to skincare products
and Rs.100 crores for general cosmetics. Over and above current herbal drugs
used in cardio vascular is 27%; respiratory 15.3%, digestive 14.4%; hypnotics
and sedatives 9.3%; miscellaneous 12%. The perfumery industry is also around
Rs.700 crores.

This potential also needs to be tapped since our country has a lot of medicinal
plants, plants with essential oils and the demand in the overseas markets for
its concentrates is growing fast. Since the flavourists and perfume experts
are facing the challenging tasks of creating and developing complex compositions
to meet the present and future consumer demand, it is also necessary to set
up world standard research and development facilities in this sector.

It is also necessary to integrate modern knowledge with traditional knowledge.
The drugs and products of the industry are working on the scientifically defined
techniques and explained with modern biological and chemical definitions and
tools, and that alone will give a therapeutically active herbal original drug
available for health care worldwide.

It may be noted that the Kerala State medicinal plant board has 500 hectares
of land under cultivation of medicinal plants to promote cultivation of specific
herbs and medicinal plants to meet future demands. Worldwide, India & China
are looked upon as a reservoir of little known herbs awaiting study, and very
few of them are currently in use in the western world. The others also require
intensive study by modern methods.

The ayurvedic drug manufacturers in Kerala with the state government and central
assistance is putting up a Rs.62.5 crore company to set up a world standard
QC lab, R&D facility for the industrial benefit with all the modern equipment
for advanced drug standardization, Quality and efficacy. This will also develop
own protocols of quality certification equivalent to other global standards.
Bench marking will be quality- says DrRamanathan, secretary, AMMOI.

In similar lines, the 1000 odd manufacturers in Tamil Nadu should unite, with
the assistance of the state and central government, to set up a world standard
lab in quality control, R&D facility for the industrial benefit for advanced
standardization, quality and efficacy. This will also help in registration of
drugs of Tamil Nadu, exported from Chennai port to Sri Lanka, Malaysia and other
Eastern countries. This lab could also get the recognition by the importing
countries, which would go a long way to facilitate and help exporters in respect
to quality assurance of drugs exported from the state.

1. Modi, I. A., Pharmatimes, 16(2), 1991, 7-12.
2. Honda, S. S., Pharmatimes, 23(4), 1991,13-17.
3. Chaudhari, R. D., Herbal drug industry, 1 st edi, Eastren publisher, 1996,
4. Bhushan patwardhan,Ayurveda: The Designer medicine: A review of ethnopharmacology
and bioprospecting research,Indian Drugs,37(5),2000,213-227.
5. Bhanu P. S., Sagar, Tyagi, Kanchan. and R. Zafer., Failure and successes
of Herbal Medicines, The Indian Pharmacist, 2003,17-23.
6. Ayurvedic Formulary
of India
, Government of India Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Department
of Indian system of medicine and homeopathy published by the controller of publication,
Delhi, 2003, 199-200.
7. Seidl PR. Pharmaceuticals from natural products: current trends An Acad Bras
Cienc 2002; 74: 145–50.
8. Dubey NK and Rajeshkumar, Tripathi P. Global promotion of herbal medicine:
India's opportunity Curr Sci ,2004; 86: 37–41
9. World Health Organization. Report of the
inter-regional workshop on intellectual property rights in the context of traditional
medicine, Bangkok, Thailand, Dec 6–8, 2000

Mr.Satish A. Polshettiwar

Mr. Satish A. Polshettiwar
Working as lectuter in Maharastra Institute of Pharmacy,MIT campus,Pune.He has
done his M.Pharm in Quality Assurance from Nagpur unversity.He is a Life member
of APTI.He has published and presented several research article in national

Mr.Anand M. Kudal

Mr.Anand M. Kudal
Working as lectuter in Maharastra Institute of Pharmacy,MIT campus,Pune.He has
completed M.Pharm in Medicinal and Pharmaceutical Chemistry from Department
of Pharmacy,SGSITS,Indore,RGPV,Bhopal.

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