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Want funding for AYUSH research on Covid-19? Share commercial & IP rights with Modi govt

The Ministry of AYUSH, in an office memorandum dated 4 June, clarified the terms and conditions for applicants requesting grant-in-aid support.

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New Delhi: Researchers developing proprietary ayurvedic, homoeopathic or any herbal medicine for Covid-19 will have to share the commercial and intellectual property rights if they approach the Narendra Modi government for financial support, ThePrint has learnt.

The Ministry of AYUSH — Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy — in an office memorandum dated 4 June, has clarified the terms and conditions for applicants requesting grant-in-aid support for the research proposals.

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, a proprietary medicine is a preparation that is owned or controlled by an individual or individuals. This control is held either by a copyright or trade name, or by a patent.

“The ministry has been receiving several requests regarding clinical trials of AYUSH medicines/interventions regarding Covid-19 including validation of proprietary medicines,” said the memorandum, titled ‘Instructions regarding research proposals to the Ministry of AYUSH and its research councils’.

The ministry has received 3,500 proposals since April, of which 308 have been selected for grant-in-aid support in the first round of screening. Of these 308, 50 will be selected under the extra mural research (EMR) scheme, which has a total annual budget of Rs 5 crore. Each of the selected proposals will be granted Rs 10 lakh.

A majority of the proposals cleared in the first round of screening are for ayurveda (212), followed by homoeopathy (49), siddha (24), unani (12), yoga (10) and sowa rigpa (1).

In the list of requirements, the ministry has talked about the “sharing of IPR and commercial rights with the funding organisation as per their policies”.

It has also asked proposers to submit the “complete drug dossiers, common technical documents of proprietary and new combination comprising of quality, preclinical safety and any preliminary clinical data or supporting evidence substantiating new proposed indication as per requirements”.

Also read: AYUSH ministry warns drug-makers to not sell products using false claims, threatens FIRs

PM Modi’s push for AYUSH

On 28 March, PM Modi had praised the efforts of the ministry while interacting with AYUSH practitioners through a video conference, and suggested that AYUSH medicine producers could utilise their resources to manufacture essential items such as sanitisers.

Following this, the ministry had issued a notification on 31 March, asking AYUSH practitioners and institutions to submit their inputs, which would be reviewed by a task force consisting of representatives from the department of biotechnology, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and AYUSH practitioners.

PM Modi had also encouraged the ministry and AYUSH practitioners to “create awareness on India’s traditional medicines and medical practices all over the world”.

He also urged AYUSH practitioners to utilise the platform of telemedicine to reach out to people and generate constant awareness to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Modi had also thanked those involved in the practice of alternative medicines “for constantly striving to serve the people and highlighted the important role they have to play in India’s fight against Covid-19”.

Also read: After Modi’s appeal, AYUSH ministry gets over 2,000 proposals to tackle Covid-19 pandemic


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