In an interaction with Industry Outlook, Abdul Majeed, Chairman & Managing Trustee, Hamdard Laboratories (Medicine Division), and Asad Mueed, Executive Trustee, Hamdard Laboratories (Medicine Division) share their views on the current market of natural medicine and the role played by Hamdard Laboratories in taking Unani medicine to the masses.
How do you see the shift from modern medicine to natural medicine, especially in the post-pandemic scenario?
Abdul Majeed: Unani
as a system of medicine was started by Greeks and after the fall of the Greek Empire, it was adopted by the Arabs. If you look at the history, Hakim Ajmal Khan and my great grandfather Hakeem Hafiz Abdul Majeed, my grandfather Hakim Abdul Hameed, my father Abdul Mueed; these were the people, who brought it to India and because of their efforts, it was incorporated within the health ministry of India under the Ministry of AYUSH
Unani, after the Greeks and the Arabs, is only surviving in India. It is flourishing and developing in India, and that speaks volumes for our society and our culture as such, because the Indian culture has absorbed everything, whether it originated in India or not.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, we have seen a very big shift of the consumers towards the herbal system of medicine of Unani and Ayurveda and this has been like a shot in the arm for these systems of medicine. Increasingly, people have also started realizing that allopathy can only give you temporary relief, but if you have to become internally strong and make your immune system strong, these herbal medicine systems are most effective.
So, this is a big shift we have seen and we have to now prove ourselves to the millennial customers. And to achieve that we have to be effective, innovative and economical, and have to come closer to the consumer and these are the three most important mantras to be followed.
How do you see the current positioning of Hamdard Laboratories in the market and what role is it playing in bringing about a positive change in the manufacturing of natural products?
Abdul Majeed:We are positioned today as pioneers of Unani in India. Hamdard and Unani are synonymous with each other, and that is because Hamdard Laboratories is a charitable institution and its basic objective is the propagation and scientific development of the Unani system. So, I think the credit goes to our ancestors for bringing it to where we are, today. But as the times have changed very fast, we at Hamdard have always tried to emphasize the quality.
We follow a policy of providing top-notch quality medicine at the most affordable price. That is our objective at this point of time. The technology that we have implemented into our production at our facilities has changed the way we produce and manufacture medicine and it is one of our biggest achievements today. The machinery and equipment we use to manufacture medicines are at par with allopathy, if not better.
Eventually, Hamdard has also forayed into backward integration that we have in our facilities where we are buying agricultural land and we are cultivating the herbs. Getting into cultivation of active ingredients and basic herbal plants and adopting state-of-the-art technology is what we are trying and we have been successful in that as well. Although, some of the processes are still manually driven, we are looking into their automation in the coming days.
When it comes to quality assurance, how do you ensure that the quality of production meets the requisite standards?
Abdul Majeed: We have one of the best analytical facilities that any herbal plant would have today. What we are trying to do starts from the identification of the right herbal plant. So, the first issue is to identify the exact species that you need for the production of that particular medicine. That is the first step towards attaining the right kind of alkaloids that you need in your medication. We have one of the best facilities for the identification of these plants and herbs. And, we have a quality system in place. Hamdard has already gone through a transformation through which we have put all the procedures, systems and the SOPs in a digitized platform.
The quality department is so structured in Hamdard that all herbal medicines which are received go through the mandatory testing for the right kind of species and the right kind of quality that we need.