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    Govt. Begins Clinical Testing of Ayurveda and Homoeo Medicine

    NEW DELHI: In a bid to lend authenticity to traditional medicines, the government has started clinical testing of various ayurvedic and homeopathy medicines on patients suffering from different tropical diseases such as dengue, malaria and some of the viruses causing seasonal influenza.

    These clinical trials are being conducted in some government as well as
    private hospitals, a senior official in the ministry of ayurveda, unani, siddha and homeopathy (AYUSH) said.

    He added, presently the trials are at the stage of "observational studies" where patients are administered with an additional therapy of either ayurvedic or homeopathic medicines and are under kept observation.

    "There are detailed parameters created and the medicines are administered accordingly. The observations are documented, based on which the researchers will move on to the next level of trial," the official said.

    According to the official, more than 80 patients were enrolled for these observational studies on dengue in Dr Hedgewar hospital and a total of nearly 500 patients have so far been enrolled in different government and private hospitals in Delhi and NCR.

    The ministry has also formed a Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences, which has been coordinating all these studies as well as also monitoring their progress and comparing them to create scientific evidence based documentation which can support the efficacy of these traditional system of medicines.

    Besides, the Council is also working to frame proper guidelines and norms to conduct further studies. It has also started on primary research and documentation of ayurvedic and homeopathic medicines which can be useful in palliative care for chronic ailments like cancer or in treatment of diabetes and hypertension.

    The government is also mulling creation of a separate regulator for AYUSH medicines which can monitor quality and efficacy of such medicines sold in the market as well as also approve clinical trials etc. This will be in line with the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI), who regulates allopathic pharmaceuticals. "At present, there are many fly-by-night operators who sell anything but real medicines or even some time give allopathic medicines packed as ayurvedic. There are no set standards and this has impacted not only people's health but also their trust," the official said, adding with proper research, documentation and guidelines AYUSH medicines will find credibility not only in India but also export markets.

    The government is also trying to boost infrastructure and capacities for development and manufacturing of ayurvedic and homeopathy medicines to promote such drugs internationally.

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