Money

Investments pour into ayurvedic industry

- KRISHANA PRASAIN, Kathmandu

Investments in ayurvedic medicine factories have increased due to the fast rising popularity of the ancient medical system which originated on the Indian subcontinent. According to the Department of Drug Administration, 78 ayurvedic medicine manufacturing companies have obtained licences this year while 44 ayurvedic companies are currently in operation.  


The domestic ayurvedic market has been growing at the rate of around 45 percent annually, said Binod Paudel, chairman of the Nepal Ayurvedic Medicine Production Association. Domestic ayurvedic factories produce medicines worth Rs15 billion annually, he said.


People are shifting to herbal medicines to avoid the side effects that can accompany allopathic drugs. As a result, the market has expanded rapidly along with swelling demand for ayurvedic medicines, he said. Domestic production meets 50 percent of the country’s requirement of ayurvedic medicines, and the rest is imported from India and China, Paudel added.


The ayurvedic factories use herbs grown locally to manufacture medicines. Some herbs that are not produced in Nepal are imported.


They produce medicines to treat gastrointestinal, respiratory, urinary, nutritional and reproductive health disorders. They also make medicines for diabetes, high blood pressure and other diseases.


The Department of Drug Administration is in the process of making it mandatory for ayurvedic medicine
producers to comply with the World Health Organization’s good manufacturing practices (GMP) guideline to ensure the quality of their products.


“The guideline is ready, and the department is in the final stages of approving it,” said Santosh KC, information officer at the department. “We aim to implement the new guideline in the next four months,” he said.


Most ayurvedic medicine manufacturers are not GMP-certified, and this has prevented them from expanding their export markets. According to Paudel, there is high demand for Nepali ayurvedic medicines in Europe. “If manufacturers obtain GMP certification, they can increase sales of their products in foreign markets,” he said.
Bhaskar Herbaceuticals is the only GMP certified ayurvedic medicine manufacturer in Nepal. It produces tablets, capsules, liquid orals, ointments and churan powder.


Another manufacturer of ayurvedic medicines, Gorkha Ayurved, is a joint venture between Nepali entrepreneurs and Centre International de Developpement et de Recherche (CIDR), a French NGO. The company’s sales have been growing at the rate of 20 percent annually, it said.


Gorkha Ayurved uses raw materials mostly from Gorkha and other parts of the country to manufacture its products. It imports herbs not available in Nepal from India.  


Nepali ayurvedic companies manufacture two types of ayurvedic medicines--classical and patent. Classical medicines are made using traditional methods, and patent medicines are made using the company’s own formula.

Published: 2018-08-30 08:29:10