Kochi (IBN) : When people from all over the world flock to the state seeking ayurveda treatment, the government dispensaries and hospitals here are running short of several important kashayams, arishtams and tablets. In an effort to meet the increased demand, the sole supplier of ayurvedic medicines to the government of Kerala, Oushadhi, is struggling to ensure the supply of medicines in time.
The unavailability of medicines at government hospitals and clinics force patients to buy them from private medical shops, which is affordable only for the economically well-off. Though the hospitals get medicines from Oushadhi four times a year, it is unable to satisfy the demand. “The present production by Oushadhi is inadequate and the delivery of medicines takes three to six months after the receipt of an intent. There are around 1,000 government ayurveda dispensaries in Kerala and Oushadhi is unable to serve them,” said Dr Rejith Anand, treasurer of Ayurveda Medical Association of India (AMAI).
“AMAI has urged the government to allow supply from government controlled cooperative societies in Thiruvanathapuram, Kollam and Kottayam manufacturing ayurveda medicines. A temporary order was passed allowing some of the societies to provide medicines for a year, but it was strongly opposed by Oushadhi. If the present situation persists private companies will enter the market and increase the burden for patients,” he added.
“There was a delay in supplies due to shortage of labour at Oushadhi, which has been addressed accordingly,” said director of Indian Systems of Medicine Dr Anitha Jacob.
“We have taken necessary measures to increase production. Around 100 new employees have been recruited and we have decided to operate two shifts by the end of this month, managing director of Oushadhi R R Shukla said. According to him cooperative societies hardly manufacture any medicines, instead they market medicines procured from other producers, which cannot ensure the quality of Oushadhi products delivered to hospitals in the state.
According to a senior doctor at Government Ayurveda Hospital at Kacheripady, the hospital is doing its best as it receives around 700 patients a day, against the average of 450 patients expected at a 50-bed hospital. “We advise patients to buy medicines from private medical shops only when they are unavailable here. That is due to either delay in supplies or no supplies. We know that a single agency cannot provide every product we need,” he said.