Indian Ayurvedic drugs rule local roost

Kathmandu, December 5:

Despite a huge demand of Ayurvedic medicine in the country, only one-fourth of

the medicines available in the local markets is locally manufactured.

According to a recent survey on ‘Status of Ayurvedic Medicines Available in Nepali Market’ carried out by the Nepal Health Research Council, only 1,719 Ayurvedic medicine brands of among 6,567 brands available in local markets are manufactured in Nepal. Remaining 4,848 brands available locally are manufactured by 43 different Indian manufacturers.

The study, led by Dr Shyam Mani Adhikari and Dr Balmukunda Regmi, was carried out in three cities of the Valley and six other densely populated cities representing different

development regions. The team collected a list of top selling Ayurvedic medicines from 87 drugstores during the four-month study that began in March.

According to Ayurvedic experts, there has been little investment in the Ayurvedic medicine manufacturing sector. Despite having adequate raw materials, expertise and technology to produce Ayurvedic medicines in the country, there has been inadequate investment in this sector. As a result, medicinal herbs are being exported to foreign countries instead of properly utilising them here.

“No one wants to invest in this sector because of an unfavourable policy,” Dr Shyam Mani Adhikari, president of Ayurveda Doctors’ Association of Nepal, said. He added that Nepal would have become self-sufficient in Ayurvedic medicine if the government had paid proper attention to the sector.

According to the Department of Drug Administration, a total of 23 big registered firms, including the Singha Durbar Baidhya Khana and five other medium-scale firms -- Gorkha Ayurved, Pashupati Ayurved, Lumbini Ayurved and Dabur Nepal -- are producing Ayurvedic medicines in the country. Other 17 cottage or small scale firms do not produce drugs regularly.

“Nepali drug manufacturers are failing in the lack of required marketing and promotional efforts. Indian manufacturers promote their brands aggressively and people are always after popular brands. But the Nepali brands go almost unnoticed,” he added.