Irked by the reluctance of the Kerala government to appoint one state licensing authority (SLA) for Ayush sector, the Ayush drug manufacturers in Kerala will shut down their production units indefinitely from next month. Further, they will boycott the International Ayush Conclave to be organized by the state government in the second week of May in Kochi.
The delay in the appointment of SLA for Ayush sector has compounded the problems being faced by the Ayush industry for the last one year. The situation has led 800 big and small manufacturing units into operational crisis, and north Indian companies make attempts to dominate the traditional drug market in Kerala, industry sources allege.
Ayurveda Medicine Manufacturers’ Organization of India (AMMOI), the manufacturers’ body of Ayush drugs, has given circular to all its member-units to refrain from participating in the four-day exhibition-cum-seminar event. The association said they have gone to the extent of boycotting the government program because the Ministry of Health is not taking necessary steps to solve the problems in the industry which is struggling due to government’s apathy.
The department of drugs control under the Ayush department has no SLA for the last one year although the High Court of Kerala directed the government to fill up the post. Manufacturers are not getting licences of renewal and fresh licences for proprietary and classical drugs. Several companies have obtained licences from Karnataka and continue production of drugs as loan licencees. Big companies such as Kottakkal, Vaidyaratnam and Sitaram Pharmacy have secured manufacturing liccences from other states. The situation has impacted closure of many small scale units also, said Dr. D Ramanathan, secretary of AMMOI.
“The situation is opening doors for north Indian companies to expand their presence and sales in Kerala. While they take advantage of the situation, the domestic companies in the state will suffer and in the end they all will vanish from the scene. At last, Ayush companies of the north will survive resulting shortage of homely produced drugs in Kerala and unemployment for thousands of skilled workers and trained scientists,” he pointed out.
Sources from the state drugs control department said the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) directed the state government to allow Prof Dr N Vimala to continue as SLA and the order of the CAT was upheld by the High Court later. However, the government is reluctant to give her appointment as licensing authority. The administrative power of the deputy drugs controller has been given to the DC in charge of allopathy. According to Dr. Vimala, the way the government is acting is illegal and against the drugs and cosmetics act of the country.