The Uttarakhand government plans to introduce an act for regulating the business of Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of medicine which finds a massive following in India.
If implemented, Uttarakhand will probably become the first state to put rules in place checking the sales of Ayurveda products and medicines. Prior to the Lok Sabha election, the BJP had in its poll manifesto said it would increase public investment to promote Ayush and start integrated courses for Indian system of medicines and modern medicine.
Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (Ayush) minister Harak Singh Rawat said once the act comes into force, no medical shop will be able to sell Ayurveda medicine without a prescription in the state.
As per an Exim Bank report, the Indian herbal industry is estimated at Rs 4,205 crore. Export of ayurvedic and allied herbal product is estimated at Rs 440 crore. The domestic business is expected to reach Rs 7,000 crore by 2020.
Uttarakhand is a hub of Ayurveda medicines and products, with yoga guru Ramdev-promoted Patanjali Ayurved Ltd’s headquarters and manufacturing units present in Haridwar. Sri Sri Ayurveda, a company promoted by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, is located in Uttarakhand. Besides, there are several other small production units located in Haridwar, Kotdwar and other industrial sites making herbal and Ayurveda products.
Allopathic medicine shops and even general stores sell Ayurveda medicines, which, the Ayush minister says, the government wants to stop. “The trend of buying Ayurveda product over the counter needs to be discouraged. We are working on an act for regulating the business. Once the act comes into force, only government approved medicine stores will be able to sell Ayurveda medicines,” Rawat told Hindustan Times.
Besides, the act will have a rider that Ayurveda medicines can be sold only by authorised practitioners and that too on presenting a prescription.
But businessmen dealing in Ayurveda products are perplexed over the government’s plan. “Ayurveda medicines or products are altogether different from allopathic medicines. It seems unfair to see both businesses from the same angle,” Anubhav Jain of Sudhir Agencies said.