The Newsletter 65 Autumn 2013

Revisiting the Kerala Ayurvedic sector. Towards a pharmaceutical vicious circle?

Harilal Madhavan

This note attempts to critique Kerala’s priorities with regards to the Ayurvedic sector by revisiting the latest developments: the merging of traditional Ayurvedic fi rms with Indian and global companies; the promotion of a ‘Kerala brand’ of Ayurvedic industrial medicines in the form of a public-private consortium named CARe-Keralam; and the promotion of health-tourism and related industries. It can be argued that the market-centred promotion of Ayurveda leads to a ‘pharmaceutical vicious circle’, i.e., the commercialization of Ayurveda leads to more of the same. This will hinder the promotion of Ayurveda in public health and divert funds needed for innovative Ayurvedic research. I appeal for a diff erent approach that has Ayurvedic therapies and medicines for specifi c diseases as its main focus.

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