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Peethaambaran Kunnathoor, Chennai August 03 , 2022
In spite of all efforts being taken by the Union Ministry of Ayush and the ministry of commerce and industry to promote Indian traditional medicines in foreign countries, a number of steps need to be taken beforehand to achieve this goal including educating the healthcare managers and regulators abroad on Ayurveda philosophy and its applications.
 
Unless and otherwise some awareness programs are executed in foreign lands, the efforts of the government and of the Pharmexcil with respect to boosting exports of Ayush drugs will become abysmally futile, comments a leading Ayurveda merchant exporter from Kerala.
 
Comparing the overseas sale of traditional medicines from China to western countries and that of from India to outside, Dr. V A Venugopal, the leading Ayurveda drugs exporter, said wherever Traditional Chinese Medicines (TCM) are accessed Chinese traditional medical practitioners visit the place and give public awareness classes on their medicines and treatments. “They are travelling along with the consignments to each country. They are very much concerned about their treatment systems and promotion of their medicines,” he said.
 
Suggesting ways to propel India’s foreign trade of traditional drugs, Dr. Venugopal says that the government of India should moot a strategy after taking comments from the existing merchant exporters before going ahead with implementing the plan. He said the first thing the union commerce ministry and the pharmaceutical export promotion council should take up is to sensitize the health ministries of the foreign countries and make them accept and recognize Ayurveda drugs as drugs for therapies. He said, for the last four decades he has been selling Ayush medicines to 30 countries under the label of dietary supplements.
 
According to him there is a growing suspicion in the western countries about the quality, scientific evidence and authenticity of the Indian Ayush drugs which are sent abroad as herbal products or food supplements. Ministerial level discussions have to be conducted in foreign countries involving Ayurveda practitioners and exporters from India. Pharmexcil should find out the ideal markets and provide supportive services to the aspiring entrepreneurs to enter into export business.

Ayurveda is the largest segment in the Ayush streams and Kerala is considered as the hub of that traditional system. Even then, Ayurveda has only a negligible share in the total exports of pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals from Kerala to foreign countries. He pointed out that it was not easy to increase the quantum of exports of Ayurveda products from India until the foreign countries were convinced of the quality, efficacy and proof evidence through scientific methods for which the union ministry of Ayush was responsible.
 
As regards the current problems faced by the merchant exporters, Dr. Venugopal said they face a number of problems, but nobody is there to lend a listening ear. Although they export the traditional medicines as food supplements, the rules of regulations in each country change day by day. This often obstructs the business and the importers become unenthusiastic to continue the overseas trade. He said his turnover has come down terribly in the last five years due to changes in regulatory norms.
 
So, the government and the Pharmexcil should discuss with the foreign health ministries and make them permit our products to register there along with providing awareness about Ayurveda philosophy and application. If the government can make one country to approve Indian Ayurveda pharmacopoeia, it will be a great achievement in this regard, he added.

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