ASSOCHAM Conference (April 2012)

By Dr. Ajit

The Indian Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry recently held their 4th Annual Summit on Medicinal & Aromatic Products at the NSIC Exhibition Complex in New Delhi. 

This annual conference was established to bring together Indian cultivators, traders and manufacturers of medicinal plants to showcase local, regional and national expertise in this industry and to facilitate their export to the world market.

I was invited to attend this prestigious conference as an international speaker where I addressed the opportunities and problems associated with marketing Ayurvedic products in the global marketplace.

Complimentary health is one of the fastest growing modalities in the world today. The World Health Organization estimates that between 65 to 80 percent of the world's population (about 3 billion people) rely on traditional (complimentary) medicine as their primary form of health care.

Herbal treatments that support this are the most popular forms of medicine and are highly valued in the international marketplace. For example, annual revenues from the sale of herbal products in Western Europe reached US$5 billion in 2003-2004.

Through Ayurveda, India has a strong pharmacopeia of herbs and herbal formulations which are gaining acceptance worldwide. However, there are a number of difficulties that are preventing these products from reaching the international market. These include:

• Lack of effective quality control in Indian manufacture
• Lack of standardisation in herbal formulations
• Lack of published, scientifically rigorous, clinical research
• Western Government’s increasing regulation of herbal “medicines”
• Western Practitioner’s preference for Oriental Herbs.

I was honoured to have the opportunity to address this conference and meet with Government officials, growers and manufacturers to discuss my concerns. My belief is that the Indian Government is very keen to encourage this local industry into the international marketplace, not just for its economic benefits but for the benefits the world can experience from this ancient healing science.

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