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Peethaambaran Kunnathoor, Chennai September 30 , 2017
Over 600 Ayurveda drugs manufacturing units in Kerala, the major suppliers of traditional Ayurveda medicines throughout the country, have been facing operational crisis for the last six months because of the government's apathy in appointing a licensing authority in the department.
 
Sources from the drug manufacturers association said the manufacturing firms are likely to stop production of major proprietary drugs because of non-issuance of licences by the government . The industry is not getting the renewals also. Manufacturers feel that if the present situation continues, before long, there will be a sharp fall in the growth of the 1,000-crore turnover Ayurveda industry in Kerala.
 
Meanwhile, the state drugs controller, who has been given additional charge of the Ayurveda wing, has written to the government that three drug inspectors in the Ayurveda department are eligible to become state licensing authorities (SLA) as per the norms of D&C Act. According to him, there may be shortage of essential Ayurveda drugs in hospitals and pharmacies due to non-functioning of manufacturing units.
 
On May 12 this year, the state government removed Dr. N Vimala from the post of state licensing authority and in-charge deputy drugs controller for Ayurveda, and the charge  of the administration of the Ayurveda drugs control wing was given to the state drugs controller. But the DC is not the authority to issue licences for ayurvedic products.

Industry sources complained that from May 12 this year, the department is not granting any new licence, or issuing certificates for product endorsements and proprietary drugs. Renewal of licences was also halted.
 
When contacted, the DC in-charge said reports relating to the issues were submitted to the government for consideration. He further said there are three drug inspectors in the Ayurveda department eligible to become licencing authority. As per the Act, an enforcement officer with 5 years experience can become an SLA.  Senior drug inspectors at Thiruvananthapuram, Dr. P.I. John and Dr. Smart P John, and Dr. Jayasree, drug inspector at Kozhikodu are fully eligible for the post of SLA, said Revi S Menon, the DC-in-charge.
 
Responding to the present situation, Dr. D Ramanathan, general secretary of Ayurveda Medicine Manufacturers’ Association of India (AMMOI) said a member of his organization has already approached the High Court for directing the government to take immediate action in this matter. He said more delay in appointing licensing authority will create more problems to the industry. Many of the units are on the verge of closure.
 
Dr. Ramanathan, however, said the state government is very much supportive to the Ayurveda industry in Kerala. But, if the present crisis is not sorted out soon, there will be shortage of essential drugs in hospitals and pharmacies.

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