Hyderabad: Human trials are important for the alternative medicine system to get acceptance in the international community and wider acceptance here at home. But researchers and scientists have reached a roadblock at the five autonomous research bodies under AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha, Homeopathy) which are not giving the required permission for human trials.
Angry researchers say they cannot submit only animal studies and yet find a wider acceptance for their methods of treatment. Dr Arul Amuthan, an integrative medical expert and professor of pharmacology at Manipal Academy of Higher Education, explained, “The ministry of AYUSH has allocated funds for 2015-16 for research of alternative medicines. But the research institutes that are to take this up are not clearing the projects. The proposals are being rejected on flimsy grounds.”
Researchers and doctors in Sidha, Unani and Ayurveda, who are affiliated to different colleges and teaching hospitals, say that the government is pushing for alternative medicines, but there is no interest from within the alternative medical systems to put their work on a sound footing.
The five autonomous bodies under the ,ministry of Ayush are the Central Council for Research in Ayurveda (CCRA), Central Council for Research in Siddha (CCRS), Central Council for Research in Unani (CCRU), Central Council for Research in Homeopathy (CCRH) and Central Council for Research in Yoga & Naturopathy (CCRYN). They accept the proposals for animal studies but seem to be reluctant to give permission for human trials.
A senior Ayurvedic doctor in the city said, “We are losing out on the opportunity to prove to the international community that Ayush treatment is fact based. For this reason, there has to be proper documentation, clinical trials, sample studies and repeat studies giving the same results. These processes are important. Only then can the efficacy of traditional medicines be proved to the world. But there are glitches.”
The thinking seems to be that human trials will be time-consuming and will have to be done in phases and it will take another decade before formal presentations can be made. The government provides grants for public and private research organisations and they are open to all the Ayush fields.
Dr Mallu Prasad, an Ayurvedic doctor, says there is a conducive atmosphere for Ayurveda, but “we need to present proper proposals and work out the right documentation procedures.
Human clinical trials have been a bone of contention here even for modern medicine and that’s why most human clinical trials are done abroad. But for alternative medicine, we have to find a proper, legalised way to carry out the trials in India. The major concern is the health of the people and that has to be given priority during trials."