Phytopharmaceutical Mission For North East Region
The North East Region (NER) of India is a genetic treasure house of plant, animal and microbial resources. The region is one of the 12 mega-biodiversity rich zones of the world and forms a distinctive part of the Indo-Burma Hotspot that ranks 8th among the 34 biodiversity Hotspots of the world. The plant bioresources of the region includes not only tropical and sub-tropical biota but those of temperate and alpine regions due to its altitudinal gradient. The NER has enormous resources in form of medicinal and aromatic plants and potential to put these invaluable plant genetic resources to use for the economic growth of the region in particular and to the nation in general, through biotechnological interventions. Taking a clue of the global trends and opportunities in plant based medicines, in India, DCGI promulgated guidelines for Phytopharmaceutical drug development (similar to US-FDA botanical guidance) in 2015. This new regulation has given a new hope for innovations and development of new drugs from botanicals in a scientific way and would help in the global acceptance of the use of herbal products by modern medical profession. NE states are highly potential area where Phytopharmaceutical drug development needs to be taken up as this region is characterized by diverse physiography, ranging from plains, plateaus and mountains with associated valleys. This region is part of both Himalaya as well as Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspots in the world. More than 200 tribes of different ethnic groups with distinct cultural entities inhabit the region and are custodians of rich indigenous traditional knowledge system on the uses of components of biodiversity for their daily sustenance like food, fodder, shelter and healthcare. In recent years, due to the renewed interest in herbal products globally, inclusion of Indian medicinal plants in US and EU pharmacopeias and opening up of phytopharmaceutical drug development pathway by DCGI has enabled a new growth trajectory for phytopharmaceutical drugs in India. Keeping in view the above, the DBT has launched Phytopharmaceutical Mission in NER with the following three major objectives:
- Captive cultivation of selected medicinal plants of NER, which have great demand to ensure supply of authentic and quality botanical raw material to the user industries in the country.
- Development of technology packages for production of GMP grade medicinal plant extracts for export markets.
- Production of safe and efficacious phytopharmaceuticals from medicinal plants of NER for unmet medical needs using modern scientific tools and following global standards.
The mission will promote the cultivation and conservation of medicinal plants in North East states. It will also improve availability of authentic and quality botanical raw material on sustainable basis for a boom in the phytopharmaceutical industry. Through this mission, it is expected to enable farmers from NE states and phytopharmaceutical industry to become global leaders in production and export of some quality botanical drugs for unmet medical needs.