After an year-long gap in grant of drug licences to the manufacturers of Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani drugs in Kerala due to a pause in the operations of the State Licensing Authority office, the newly appointed SLA of the Ayurveda department has now started the process of issuing licenses on the pending applications with the office.
Dr. TD Sreekumar, the SLA, said his office has taken action on 20 renewal applications in this month and all the pending files will be cleared before the end of July. There were 130 applications pending with the office since May 2017 for renewal of licences. Twenty renewal licenses were already issued.
The new SLA joined on duty in the first week of this month.
As regards fresh licenses and licenses for patented products (proprietary drugs) a few more days’ delay may be occurred because of some technical reasons. The new legal officer (LO) has so far not taken charge, but he is expected to be on the seat from July 5th, said the deputy drugs controller in charge of SLA.
For issuing fresh licences, the legal officer has to approve the application after his visit to the manufacturing site. As soon as he joins the office, the work on all pending applications will be started.
In the case of patented medicines, as per the directions of the central ayush ministry, the expert committee (EC) of the department has to make proposal to the licensing authority for grant of licence. Currently, the EC is not functioning because three of the members were already retired from service. The committee is comprised of six members who are all from government service. According to the SLA, the committee will be constituted by the government very soon and a proposal has been sent to the concerned department in this regard.
Considering the problems of the medicine manufacturing industry, positive steps are being taken by the department of Ayush. A meeting of Ayush drug inspectors will be held at the SLA office on June 29 to take stock of the situation prevailing in the manufacturing sector. Some members of the expert committee will also attend the meeting and it is hoped that the meeting will send proposal for granting licenses for classical products.
Meanwhile the association of ayurveda drug manufacturers has expressed dissatisfaction over the delay happening in issuing licences. Dr. D Ramanathan, secretary of AMMOI (Ayurveda Medicine Manufacturers Organisation of India) said the delay in constituting the expert panel shows the government’s apathy in improving the system. Since the constitution of the expert committee is purely made on the direction of the Ayush ministry rather than on drug laws, the government can nominate members from the industry side to the panel, he pointed out.