1. Exim Bank's latest publication titled "Exporting Indian Healthcare", highlights the prospects for export of Ayurveda and Siddha products and services from southern India and the issues involved therein. The book was released by Ms. Qudsia Gandhi, former Commissioner of Indian Medicine & Homeopathy, Government of Tamil Nadu, at a function organised by Exim Bank and CII in Chennai on October 11, 2002.
2. India has been using its rich biodiversity in the healthcare segment for many years. Its rich traditional experience and wisdom is ensconced in the Ayurveda and Siddha systems of medicine. The study explores the infrastructure facilities in the Indian systems of medicine highlighting the lacunae in the area of educational infrastructure, research and development, standardisation and quality control.
3. Exports of Ayurveda and Siddha products and services offer huge potential, considering that over 80% of the world population relies on the traditional systems of medicines to meet their primary healthcare needs. World demand for herbal products has been growing at a rate of 10% -15% per annum. There is also a growing demand for natural products including items of medicinal value in the international market. The medicinal plants related trade in India alone is approximately Rs 5.5 billion. Global markets for herbal products, which include medicines, health supplements, herbal beauty and toiletry products, is estimated at around US$ 62 billion. Out of this, the market for herbal medicine alone is estimated at around US$ 5 billion and is expected to reach US$ 16 billion by 2005.
4. The global herbal product markets, (estimated at US$ 16.7 billion in 1997) are mainly in Europe and North America, which together account for 63% of the world market. The European market for herbal remedies accounts for 45% of the global market, and stood at US$ 7.5 billion in 1997. Germany and France are the most established markets with a share of 22% and 11% in Europe, respectively. China is the major exporter of traditional medicine to the world market. India needs to organise itself well to get any significant share in this growing market segment.
5. The study identifies both supply-side constraints such as lack of standardisation, lack of knowledge on international regulations governing the imports of such products, etc., as well as demand dynamics in the overseas market, which inhibit India's exports of Ayurveda and Siddha products and services. In addition, the issue of intellectual property is also touched upon. The challenges facing the traditional medicine system today is how to optimise the use of intellectual property rights by the rights holders and to prevent its abuse and misuse by non-rights holders.
6. The study concludes with a set of recommendations, at both macro and micro levels, to support the export efforts of Ayurveda and Siddha products manufacturers and service providers in order to consolidate, mobilise and organise the sector. With the global market growing at a much faster rate than the domestic market, the Ayurveda and Siddha manufacturers need to orient themselves to cater to the export needs. Organising the structure of the Ayurveda and Siddha sector and developing it as a parallel pharmaceutical industry and medical practice through modernisation and upgradation is vital for the sector to flourish.
7. Promoting Ayurveda and Siddha products and services as export items calls for an integrated effort from Government, industry, and educational and research institutions. Developing export markets would require innovative measures such as creating a few clusters - Ayurveda and Siddha cooperatives and parks. Given the support for global competitiveness by the government, possibilities of setting up Ayurveda and Siddha hospitals and centres abroad can be explored. Simultaneously, the industry needs to focus on the development of services that can be exported, and project Ayurveda and Siddha as complete health packages. The opportunities offered by exports of Ayurveda and Siddha products and services are immense and can be realised, provided persistent and focused efforts are made by all stakeholders.
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