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Advancing global collaboration on the regulation of homoeopathic medicinal products

29 Jan 2019

The second World Integrated Medicine Forum on the regulation of homoeopathic medicinal products was held in Goa, India 23-25 January; the theme this time was ‘Advancing Global Collaboration.’

The event was organised by Central Council for Research in Homeopathy (CCRH), with the support of the Indian Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy), ECHAMP, Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia Convention of the United States (HPCUS), Pharmacopoeia Commission of Indian Medicine and Homoeopathy and Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO). It was opened in person by Shri Sripad Yesso Naik, Honourable Minister of State for the Ministry of AYUSH.

Participants included representatives from World Health Organisation (WHO) and medicines agencies, pharmacopoeia experts, and industry representatives from India and from countries all around the world.

More than a billion patients worldwide are demanding safe and effective medicines and the demand for homeopathy is growing. There is still a highly disparate situation among countries with regard to the regulations of homeopathic medicines and this directly affects the availability of these medicines. The forum illustrated how homeopathy can be further regulated and integrated into healthcare systems both in countries that have already adopted homoeopathy and in those countries where homeopathy has only been recently introduced. The legitimate and increasing demand and need for homeopathic products by patients and health care providers worldwide needs to be balanced by an appropriate regulatory framework which proportionally addresses quality, safety, effectiveness and availability of medicines.

Discussions explored the commonalities and differences in regulatory affairs among various countries, different strategic regulatory and industry perspectives and possible scenarios in advancing international collaboration, ways to further enhance pharmaceutical quality standards and integrate traditional medicine systems in primary healthcare and public health. It finished with a forum discussion on the future of homeopathic regulation.

Speaking of the importance of homeopathy in India, which is the fifth largest investor in scientific research in homeopathy in the world, Shri Sripad Yesso Naik called on industry as well as homoeopathic medical colleges to invest a certain percentage of revenues in research. He argued that the huge challenge of management of non-communicable diseases, faced by western medicine today, can be tackled by means of safer medicines. Excessive use of medicines such as antibiotics, painkillers, antidepressants, anti-hypertensive and statins are causing much harm to the society. Homoeopathy, with its safe dosage, can prove to be an effective alternative in such situations. It has the potential to address non-communicable diseases by appropriately treating patients holistically in the initial stages and can also reduce the usage of these drugs.

Christiaan Mol, General Secretary of ECHAMP, which also sponsored the event, helped set the scene for discussion with a strategic perspective on how to advance international collaboration in this field, presenting different scenarios based on lessons learnt to date.

The conference website includes the programme, copies of the conference presentations, photographs and access to media coverage of the event, which has been extensive, mostly in India but also elsewhere.