Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Thursday, Mar 07, 2002
Industry & Economy
Plea to prescribe GMP norms for homeopathy
P.T. Jyothi Datta
NEW DELHI, March 6
ALTHOUGH alternative systems of medicine, such as homeopathy, are not alien to the Indian population, it suffers from a problem of perception, fed by the lack of quality of products, produced often in no more than "kitchen-factories".
And, even as allopathic medicine has cornered a large share of the attention of the recently announced Drug Policy and Budget 2002-03, a section of the homeopathy industry feels that they have lost out in an otherwise receptive Indian market.
This they attribute to the absence of standardised procedures, or good manufacturing practice (GMP) norms, leading to inconsistent quality that subsequently results in a dissatisfied consumer.
Schwabe India, a wholly-owned subsidiary of German homeopathic major, Dr Willmar Schwabe Arzneimittel, spearheading the demand for GMP norms in the industry, feels that the GMP issue is crucial from both the company and consumer point of view.
Mr Bodo Rasler, Managing Director, Dr Willmar Schwabe India Private Ltd, told Business Line that the estimated Rs 250 crore comprised about 900-odd registered homeopathy companies in the country.
While there were GMP norms for allopathy and even ayurveda, he said, homeopathy was not covered by standard norms, though a draft was circulated among a section of the industry last year.
Except for a group of companies in the country who were manufacturing good quality homeopathy medicines, he said that about 50 per cent of the industry did not adhere to any standard practices.
Refuting the observation that MNCs were pushing for the norms to crush domestic companies, he said that standardisation would benefit the consumer, since it would weed out spurious products.
Schwabe's products are 10-20 per cent costlier than other homeopathic products and it is this increase in costs and investments that prevents small homeopathy manufacturers from supporting GMP norms, he observed.
Meanwhile, Schwabe India is set to break even this year and expects to clock a sales turnover of Rs 12 crore for the year ended December 2002.
Mr Rasler told Business Line that the company expects to double its sales turnover in another two-three years. The company is also planning to invest an additional Rs 18 crore in its five-year plant in Noida, he said.
On the distribution front, the company is aggressively pushing its products into the market and plans to put in place about 80-odd exclusive outlets across the country.
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