1. INTRODUCTION Herbal, Unani,Ayurvedic, Homeopathic medicines and others spiritual activities used in ourcountry for the purposes of treatment diseases and fit their body, all of theseare known as alternative medicine.
On the other hand it may say that exceptallopathic medicine (i.e. mainstream medicine) all others medicines arealternative medicine. In this text discussion confined on alternativei.
e.Herbal, Unani and Ayurvedic systems of medicines only. Alternatives medicines are ancient traditional systemsof medicines. Out of alternativemedicine Herbal is relatively modern system of medicine and Unani and Ayurvedicmedicines have had long historical background in Bangladesh as well as rest of the world.
Unani and Ayurvedic medicines arealso a form of traditional medicines practiced all over the world including ourcountry. Unani systems ofmedicines are widely used in the countries of the Middle East, South Asia. Itis based on the teachings of Greek physicians Hippocrates and Galen, anddeveloped and had puts very significant contribution by the Muslim Arabian and Persian physicianssuch as Al-Razi, Ibn Sena, AL-Zahrawi, and Ibn Nafis. Unani medicine firstarrived in India around 12th or 13th century with establishment and patronizedby Delhi Sultanate (1206–1527) and Islamic rule over North India andsubsequently flourished under Mughal Empire Alauddin Khilji had several eminentUnani physicians (Hakims) in his royal courts. Muslim scholars had contributedmuch more in the fields of Unani medicines.
1Mr. Yousuf Ali Mozumder, Assistant Chief of Bangladesh Tariff Commission. He completed his Bachelor of Commerce with (Hons.) and Master of Commerce from Department of Commerce under University of Chittagong, Bangladesh. Later on he did MBA (International Business) from University of Western Sydney (NSW), Australia. He took part various training on different issues of trade commerce, World Trade Organization (WTO) and others business related issues home and abroad. Ayurvedic systems of medicine arealso a system of traditional Hindu medicine native to the Indiansubcontinent.
It is also known as Ayurveda means ‘life knowledge’. According tothe history of alternative medicine it is an older system of medicine. Theorigin of Ayurveda has been traced back to around 3,000 BC, it was originatedthat time as an oral tradition. Ayurvedic practices included the use of herbalmedicines, mineral or metal supplementation, surgical techniques, opium, andapplication of oil based massages. Herbal, Unani andAyurvedic systems of medicine products have two branches one is known asmedicine and other is herbal food supplements. Food supplements products arenot treated as medicine. 2. USES OF ALTERNATIVE MEDICINESAND THEIR PRACTITIONERS Ayurvedic, Unani and Herbal systems of alternative medicines are widelyused and practices in Bangladesh.
The major raw materials of these medicinesare herbs and herbs come from medicinal plants. Bangladesh medicinal plantshave had long historical background. Ancient to till date peoples of rural andhilly areas of Bangladesh in some cases have directly use medicinal plants for the purposes of their treatmenti.
e. they used it as an alternativemedicine as raw form. Once in the rural areas there were medicinal plantsspecialists. They used to made medicine in their home in very small scale andhomely environment. The manufacture of medicine used to visit patients home toknow their physical condition and therefore prescribed and supply medicine asper their requirement. At the same way patients used to visit medicinemanufactures home for the purposes of their treatment.
In some areas of Bangladeshn medicinal plants specialist and makers ofmedicine called ‘Kabaraj/Hakim’. At that time in the rural areas’Kabaraj/Hakim’ used to go hat (that sat one or twice a week) to communicatepeoples and sell their medicine. Now aday to making Herbal, Unani and Ayurvedic medicines used modern technology,involved large capital, huge labor and set up factory now it is became anindustry. The manufacturer of medicines now produces medicinal products as acommercial basis and marketing their products home and abroad.
3. COMPETITIVENESS OF THE PRODUCTS Meanwhile the world becomes as a global village, business become morecompetitive and challenging nature. Now one country is not separated from othercounty and products markets have spread over the world i.e. became a partner ofglobal markets. This global market trade and services now regulated by theWorld Trade Organization (WTO) rules and regulations.
Bangladesh is one of theimportant members of WTO (World Trade Organization). It is playing role asleader of LDC (Least Developed Countries). Globalization has put pressure tocomply international standard, technology, norms and regulations. According to the report of World Health Organization (WHO), about 80% ofthe world population used alternative medicine for their primary healthcare. The dependency of alternativemedicine has increasingly growing up day by day.
Specializationin the sub- sector Presently, specialization is key factors of efficiency in the fields ofmedicine. People likes to choicespecialized person for the treatment of their diseases. Now competition hasincrease many folds, the existence of the medicine manufacturing firms dependson efficiency, goodwill, innovation and technological advancement.Opportunities have created to diversify their products of Herbal, Unani andAyurvedic systems of medicines manufacturing firms. As a part of modernizationHerbal, Unani and Ayurvedic systems of medicines firms have changes older formsof production systems and enter in to new convenient, cost efficiency forms ofproduction.
Besides traditional forms of production they are now entered in tomodern forms of products say producing medicine as tablet, capsules, teas,extracts and fresh or dried plants. Organizational competition has createdopportunity of worldwide market of their products. Earlier it is mentioned that Herbal, Unani and Ayurvedic systems ofmedicines products have treated as medicine. The producer of these medicinesproducts produces another products that called food supplements. Foodsupplements products are not treated as medicine. As per present drug policy (2005), for thepurpose of production and marketing of food supplements products there are norequirement of any approval from Directorate General of Drug Administration(DGDA) for the purposes of food supplements products. .Numbersof manufacturing firms and their status.
The scenarios of the alternative medicinesmanufacturing firms in Bangladesh and their status may be seen from thefollowing table: Alternative medicines manufacturing firms and theiroperational status Name No. of firms Functional Suspended Herbal 17 17 – Ayurvedic 201 168 33 Unani 219 202 17 Total 437 387 50 Source: Directorate General of Drug Administration (2010) From the above table it is seen that in Bangladesh total 437manufacturing firms are engaging in production of Herbal, Unani and Ayurvedicsystems of medicines. Out of 437 firms 17 numbers of firms are Herbal, 201numbers of firms are Auurvedic and 219 numbers of firms are Unani medicinefirms. It is seen that entire 17 Herbal manufacturing firms are in production.
202 Unani medicine firms are in production and the rest 17 numbers firms arenot in production they are suspended. 168 Ayurvedic systems of medicinemanufacturing firms are in production and the rest 33 numbers of Ayurvedicfirms are suspended.Locationof the factories The factories of manufacturing firms are scattered and located all overBangladesh. But most of the factories are located in Dhaka, Chittagong,Gazipur, Comilla, Barisal, Bogra, Mymenshingh and Narayangonj.
The total numberof factories in Dhaka is 136, inChittagong 32, in Comilla 22, Barisal 19, and Bogra 19. A small numbers offactories are located other districts of Bangladesh. 4. GOVERNMENT AFFORDS ANDPROMOTIONAL ACTIVITIES OF ALTERNATIVE MEDICINES After independent the Government of Bangladesh has recognized Unani andAyurvedic systems of medicine. The Government has given priority to alternativemedicine and has created opportunities in the country for providing patientscare services through alternative medicine. In this regards total 198 posts of medical officers (from the Bachelorof alternative medical college) have been created by the government.
Out of 198posts 66 posts of medical officers forUnani systems of medicine, 66 medical officers for Ayurvedic systems of medicine and the rest 66 medical officers forHomoeopathic systems of medicine. All ofthe appointed medical officers are working in district hospitals along withmainstream medical officers. To grow medicinal plants and to create awareness to the localbeneficiaries about medicinal plants and Herbal, Unani and Ayurvedic medicines467 demonstration herbal gardens have been established in Bangladesh. Medicinalplants gardens established one in each districts hospital and upazila healthcomplex premises. The post of one herbal gardener has been created and appointedin each herbal garden to take care of the garden. There are 729 sanctionedposts for alternative medicine care in government position includinghomoeopathic medicines. 5.
RAWMATERIALS OF ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE AND THEIR SOURCES Raw materials of Herbal, Unani and Ayurvedic systems of medicines arecombination of herbs, chemical and parts of the animal or animal originatedproducts. In the production of Herbal, Unani and aAyurvedic systems ofmedicines manufacturers of Bangladesh to produced their medicinal products theyused 70% of local raw materials and 30% of imported raw materials only. Out of70% local raw materials only 10% raw materials are cultivated and the rest 90%are wild harvested raw materials.
It is a big opportunity to the alternativemedicines manufacturing industries of Bangladesh that most of the major rawmaterials are available in the country. Due to deforestation wild raw material will be reduced day by day. Keeping mind the reducing situation of wild harvesting raw materials therefore immediate attempts need to betaken for the production of cultivated raw materials for alternative medicinesindustries in the country. To meet the challenge of sustainable development ofalternative medicines industries intensive care may need to take initiative forcultivation of raw materials. It is hopeful that in the mean time cultivationof medicinal plants has been increased in the country. Peoples now becoming trustful and liking alternative medicine for theirtreatment due to harmless characteristic of these medicines. Awareness regarding medicinal herbs andherbal medicine has been created towards alternative medicines home and aboard. The World Health Organization (WHO) has been listed medicinal plants forthe purposes of manufacturing alternative medicines.
Medicinal plants are themajor raw materials of Herbal, Unani and Ayurveduc systems of medicines. It isgood news for Bangladesh that some of these plants can be easily grow inBangladesh because of favorable environmental condition of its. Some of these alternative medicines rawmaterials are; garlic, turmeric, ginger, onion, aloe, Indian penny wort , marshmint, arjuna, emblic myrobalan, margosa, creat, chebulic myrobalan, beleric myrobalan, black seed, vasaka,devil’s cotton, winter cherry, snake root, black basil, folium sennae,liqourice root, fenugreek, gum arabic tree, asparagus, plea seed etc.It is mention earlier that many of alternative medicine plants grow inBangladesh. Medicinal plants are mainlywild harvested in our country.
Wild harvested medicinal plants should not bepermanent sources of supply and it should be replaced by cultivation wherepossible. Besides now in Bangladesh medicinal plants are growing andcultivating scattered all over the country but some areas are famous formedicinal plants cultivation. It was understood from previous study that 70% of the raw materials ofHarbal, Unani and Ayurvedic systems of medicines are producing in country; onthe other hand many of these raw materials have multipurpose uses in ourcountry and our everyday cooking. As anexample it is mentioned here the names of spices that uses as a raw material ofmedicines and on the other hand these spices are the one of the major ingredientsof cooking stuff besides these have many other alternative uses. 6. CULTIVATION OF RAW MATERIALSIN BANGLADESH Most of the alternative medicine manufacture ring firms have used theirown raw materials and some of them have own plants garden.
Besides, NGO of the country and others communitiesbased organizations are engaged in helping farmers for productions,distributions and marketing of medicinal plants. Community based organizationsare also involved in commercial cultivation. Major medicinal plants of thecountry are produced in the districts of Natore, Bogra regions, Chittagong,Mymensingh, Rangpure regions and some of them cultivated in Sylhet regions.
Itis seen that normally hilly areas are suitable for the production andcultivation of medicinal plants. 7. PROSPECTS OF THE INDUSTRY INBANGLADESH Future prospects of local raw material in Bangladesh is very potential, it is considered as a home of herbal plants whereover 550 species of herbal plants grow in the country and these are availableand suitable for producing herbal medicine in the country. About 25 plants of Bangladesh considered highpriority herbs plants.
On the other handit was identified that due to various reasons for example numbers of rivers,less uses of fertilizer, favorable climate condition etc encourage productionof medicinal plants . Moreover it is proved that the soil of Bangladesh may notbe as heavily contaminated with pesticides and herbicides in comparison of thesoil of China and India. This natural condition of Bangladesh will be create a positive image and motivation towardBangladeshi medicinal plants by the foreign buyer/investors as well as personalchoice of individuals may create demand for Bangladeshi medicinal plants andmedicines manufactured in the country. The manufacturers of alternativemedicines are in adventurous position to explore their products in the obversesmarket and export them by adding more value and can create more job opportunityin the country. The manufacturers of alternative medicine of Bangladesh have exportpotentiality. For the purpose of export of alternative medicines pre conditionlaid down in the Drug Policy of Bangladesh (2005) that any drugs are allowed toproduce in Bangladesh in accordance with the specific requirements of theimporting country.
Medicines may beexported in their genetic name or in their company brand name. According to theWHO (World Health Organization) theworld market of the Herbal, Unani and Ayurvedic medicines and medicinal plantsmore than US$ 60 billion but in 2010, the world market focused US$ 150 billion(Estimated) in near future. WHO has farther forecasted that the global marketfor herbal products would be US$ 3 trillion by the year 2020 and US$ 5 trillionby the year 2050. 8. NATIONAL DRUG POLICY National Drug Policy of Bangladesh regulates drug production,distribution, marketing and pricing etc. It was published in 18thApril 2005.
In the published Drug Policy along with mainstream medicine,alternative systems of medicines have been included in the National Drug Policy.The Director General of Drug Administration (DGDA) is the administeringauthority of all kinds of drug. It is quite impossible to the authority tomonitor and control, laboratory testing and other related activities ofmedicine industry. Presently pharmaceuticals industry is a very large andpromising sector in Bangladesh. It is exporting medicine i.e.
pharmaceuticalsproducts over 150 countries of the world. To manage the drug sector it isrequire separate monitoring authority for alternative medicines of Bangladesh.At the same way for the monitoring of Harbal, Unani and Ayurvedic medicines need separate authorityand another alternative medicine is homeopathic medicines that needs alsoseparate controlling and monitoring authority. 9.
PROVISION IN THE EXPORT POLICY In the export policy 2009-2012, alternativemedicines sub-sector producing medicinal plants and medicine products have beenconsidered as a Special Priority Sectors. Alternative medicines are entitled tohave the benefits and facilities that are applicable to alternative medicinesubsector. The sub-sector considered as a Special Priority Sectors.
26. As a Special Priority Sectors benefits andfacilities are entitle to have projectloans a normal interest rates onpriority basis, export loans with soft terms and reduced interest rates,shipment of products at reduced air fare, duty draw-back/bond facilities,facilities for setting up of backward linkage industries includinginfrastructural development as to reduceproduction cost, expansion of technical facilities to improve the quality ofproducts, assistance in marketing of products and in searching for foreignmarkets, possible financial benefits forutility services such as electricity, water and gas and necessary initiativesto attract foreign investments (FDI). 10.UNIQUE FORMULA FOR ALL MANUFACTURING FIRMS Unani and Ayurvedic systems of medicines of Bangladesh are producingunder formula approved by theEexpert Formulary Committee. Therefore thestandard of the medicines should be equal to each and every firm. But inpractical situation the standard of medicine one firm to other firms are notsame. It may say that some manufacturingfirms hoodwink to the interest of the common people by not for followingstandard set for them.
Some Herbal Unani and Ayurvedic medicine firms are doingmalpractices in the country, they are using advertising in a manner that commonpeople coming for treatment and spending much more money but they are notgetting proper benefits from its.Food substitute On the other hand in the name of food substitute many local and importedproducts are available in the country using colorful advertizing, promisingtreatments of many diseases and are misleading to the common peoples and makingfraud with the people. There is no one to protect them; it should not becontinue in the coming future. It may expect that the appropriate authoritycome forward for prevention of the malpractice of medicine.
11. ANOMALIES OF DRUG POLICY(2005) National Drug Policy 2005 formulated for pharmaceutical and for all otheralternative medicines. Pharmaceutical sub-sector industry is a vast sector inthe country and its needs separate to monitor and control its functions butthere is no separate body to oversee its activities.
Alternative medicines sub- sector is not a small one. Separate policy and administering andmonitoring authority is require foralternative or traditional systems of medicines like Herbal, Unani andAyurvedic systems of medicines in Bangladesh. Emphasis has given for manufacturing Quality and standard drug in thecountry. There is a list of Essential Drugs in the country. In this regardsgovernment has made List of Essential Drugs for pharmaceutical sector only. Butno list of Essential Drugs determined for Herbal, Unani and Ayurvedic systemsof medicines. Some of alternative medicine firms are producing food supplementsproducts but no provisions have been made in this regard in the Drug Policy2005 for production and marketing of food supplements.
No separate monitoringauthority, no price monitoring body of alternative medicines. In the drugpolicy it is mentioned that price should be ‘affordable’ this word needs to beclarification by the authority or it may necessary to establish a formula forpricing. 12. CONCLUSION A central Herbal, Unani and Ayurvedic system of medicine testinglaboratories are needed to be established.
It will ensure the quality of theproducts. Research and Development(R) is the key element of any innovation that lead the products as wellas country forward, therefore a researchinstitute need to be established for the development of Ayurvedic, Unani andherbal medicines. Availability of data/information’s are the key elements of measuring and making development policy intake, formulatingpolicy, taking future action plan and focus ting of an industry but no databaseregarding production, sales, exports etc. are available. Necessary measuresshould be adapted in these regards. Directorate General of Drug Administration(DGDA) is the licensing authority, the manufacturing firms suppose to besubmitting productions and others related data/ information to the DGDA but noproductions and others related data/ information’s are available in the officeDGDA. Office of the DGDA should consider as depository of production, sales andother related data/information’s. Alternative medicine i.
e. Herbal, Unani and Ayurvedic medicines areapproved by the government but no medicines of this groups are not included as’Essential’ Drug list. There needs to be included some of them as ‘Essential’Drug. The industry is a growing sector; cultivations of medicinal plants shouldbe encouraged, necessary steps needs to be taken for the improvements ofcultivation plants.
It is need strongbackwards linkages for the improvement of the alternative systems of medicines. The domestic market of Herbal, Unani and Ayurvedic systems of medicineare very large due to huge population in the country. Therefore most of thefirms are primarily focusing on catching domestic markets. Some large firmshave little intension for exports markets. Trade liberalization has alsocreated pressures on domestics firms to become export oriented to ensure theirgrowth and prosperity. The Herbal, Unani and Ayurvedic systems of medicineidentified as a priority sector and government made multi provisions in favorof producers as well as exporters of the products of the sub sector but nopositive result reflected in the export scenario. Some of the firms engaged as manufactures of counterfeit, adulterated andsub standard drugs and using enlighten packaging and writing attractive wordsinto levels and advertising products in a manner to mislead the common peoplesand there should be under system of exemplary punishment.
The manufacturers of Herbal, Unani & Ayurvedic systems of medicineshould follow quality and international standard of products. There needs to put positive efforts topenetrate into the foreign markets.