Lack of adequate efforts on the part of Pharmacopoeia Commission for Indian Medicine (PCIM), located in Ghaziabad in preparing pharmacopoeial standards for Siddha drugs is holding up the growth of five thousand years old treatment system of India in the international level.
Albeit there is reference about 40,000 medicines in Siddha for treating various ailments, even one hundred of it cannot be manufactured for international markets for want of a set of physico-chemical standards of these classical products, according to experts.
Experts in the field are of the opinion that, although PCIM has initiated some steps to prepare pharmacopoeial standards for some single herbal as well as poly-herbal Siddha classical drugs, it has so far not published the standards for the finished products. Notwithstanding the fact that, the Commission has assigned some universities and the Central Council of Research in Siddha (CCRS) for preparing the physico-chemical standards through analytical methods, either of these institutes has not published the quality aspects and directions for preparations of even the selected Siddha classical drugs to be maintained for official purpose.
Sources close to CCRS are alleging that, apart from herbal products, pharmacopoeial standards are yet to be prepared for medicines made out of minerals and metals, as well as those made from body parts of animals. According to them, vigorous steps need to be taken for developing these standards for classical formulations in Siddha. As on today, said the team leader of a research team working on preparation of pharmacopoeial standards for Siddha medicines in Manipal University, only 20 poly-herbal drugs have been so far identified and subjected for analytical studies for developing standards out of the 40,000 classical formulations in Siddha.
Since the analytical methods entail large facilities of laboratory, the PCIM under the Ministry of Ayush, has to assign the responsibility to various agencies. According to sources, there is no follow up step of encouragement happens from the side of the union ayush ministry towards speeding up each project given to each agency. Even the Manipal University’s research wing of classical drugs has been assigned only two traditional drugs for analysis.
The team leader for Siddha division at the Center for Integrative Medicine and Research (CIMR) at the university, Dr. Arul Amuthan, says that if the classical medicines of Siddha system have to be developed world over, the Ministry of Ayush should introduce projects of research and analysis to develop the quality aspects, directions of preparations and use of all classical formulations. Classical drugs are the common property for all medicines in the traditional system and they are like those of generic versions in allopathic system.
Dr. Amuthan said in case of proprietary drugs, licences for manufacture and sale are given only after clinical evidence of the drugs is proven as per the latest rules of the central government. Whereas, except Tamil Nadu, all other states are reportedly not abiding strictly these rules. PCIM should also undertake the responsibility to conduct analytical studies for raw herbs by engaging institutions with latest technological facilities for lab work for analytical studies.