New Delhi: A parliamentary committee has slammed the government for not doing enough to ensure quality and safety of ayurvedic and homoeopathic medicines. Asking the government to take “proactive” measures, the panel also raised serious concerns over delay in bringing changes to crucial legislations to keep a check on advertisement and sale of AYUSH (ayurveda, unani, siddha and homoeopathy) medicines.
“The committee notes that there has been recurring delay in amending the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954 and the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945. Though the process of amending the said Act and Rules has been set in motion, its logical culmination is still some distance away,” a report by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare said.
The committee also raised objections to the government’s plan to constitute a separate vertical for regulating AYUSH medicines under the existing Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) that regulates pharmaceutical products. “The committee feels that in order to strengthen regulatory mechanism and effectively oversee the quality control of ASU & H drugs, setting up of a separate Central Drug Controller for ASU&H drugs is an imminent necessity…,” the report said. The committee reasoned a wing of AYUSH under the existing system may not produce desired effective regulation. Instead, a separate Drug Controller will help synergise the core competencies of the Central and state regulatory authorities which, in turn, will assist in building credibility for AYUSH drugs and promote them outside India as well.
The committee also said the Centre must not be complacent by merely forwarding the list of non-compliant advertisers to states licensing authorities and instead acquaint itself with the follow up action taken by them.