Chairman’s Interview Published in Homoeopathy For All Vol 8 No.5 (90) June 15 2007.
By 2020 a large percentage of Indian population may prefer homoeopathy as the first line of treatment
-Mr. B. K. Shrestha,
Could you please tell us about the performance of SBL in the last few years?
For the past several years, SBL has been constantly growing - both in sale and in profit by 30%. We could do so by -
a. Adhering to the highest quality standards comparable to anyone in the World;
b. Adding new research products in the market (quite often the first time such products have been introduced in the Indian market such as Cough Lozenges, homoeopathic medicated soaps etc.);
c. Investing heavily in new physical facilities for production, so that the orders from our dealers are serviced more or less immediately on receipt of the orders.
Please tell us about SBL’s new plant at Haridwar?
As you know, the first modern homoeopathic plant in the country was established by this Company at Sahibabad (near Delhi). However, this plant was not tuned to the actual market requirement in the country. Based on our experience at Sahibabad factory, a second factory at Jaipur was constructed improving in all respects the concept of a modern homoeopathic factory already established at Sahibabad.
The Haridwar factory is our third most modern state-of-the-art manufacturing facility. The factory is not only fully air-conditioned, but great care has been taken so that the facilities may be considered as a garden factory, with greeneries and flower beds covering every inch of the available open space. With the commissioning of the Haridwar factory, the company is in a position to meet the ever increasing demand, without any problem, at least for the next five years.
Could you also tell us about the research activities and facilities at SBL?
SBL is the only homoeopathic pharmaceutical company in India whose R&D Lab is recognized by The Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India.
Among others, we are the only company where every liquid formulation is subjected to microbiological test. In case of liquid preparations while the product may show no contamination at the time of manufacture, there is a great danger that during storage, the product may develop fungi and other serious contamination. We wish all homoeopathic manufacturers subject their liquid preparation to such microbiological tests. We are aware that creating microbiological laboratory can be costly. But, if we have to ensure the quality of our products, we should not spare the cost.
Creating microbiological laboratory is a costly affair, but we have done so to ensure "WORLD CLASS QUALITY", with no increase in the price, so we mean "EXCELLENCE AT NO EXTRA COST".
The company is continuously engaged in research work to not only improve its own products but also finding new formulations for serious diseases like diabetes.
We have developed a combination which provides good control and management of NIDDM (Non insulin dependant diabetes mellitus). The product is still going through field test.
Our research laboratory is also processing important ayurvedic herbs through homoeopathic method of manufacture. The results are most encouraging.
The Government is opening up as a big buyer of medicine, what should be according to you the yardsticks and parameters for government purchase?
We are aware that Government is one of the largest single buyer. Unfortunately, the entire procedure seem to be infested between the purchasers and suppliers - where the criteria is not to obtain the best quality medicines at the lowest cost, but to get the poor quality medicines at lowest price.
Quality does not come cheap.
Further, the objective of the Government to propagate the use of homoeopathy gets defeated because the poor quality medicines would not give the same rate of cure.
If the government takes the decision to make sure that only quality medicines are purchased, it should be possible to list the quality manufactures in the country and then take bids only from such quality manufacturers.
As FOHMI President what message would you like to give to your fellow manufacturers?
My humble message to all my fellow manufacturers in homoeopathy is to upgrade their manufacturing facilities so that the quality of the products they manufacture is at par with the set standards. This is essential because new GMP norms have been notified.
In my view, because of the cost involved in the manufacture of quality mother tinctures (MT), many small manufacturers should not be manufacturing MT at all. They should source it from one of the quality manufacturers of MT.
Similarly, since it is costly to manufacture "pure & perfect" back-potencies, they should also source the back-potencies from the manufacturers who have developed the necessary skills and also can afford to make necessary investments.
In the case of liquid formulations, the cost involved is minimum. All such liquid formulations should be subjected to microbiological test. Regarding the tablets, at one time, most of the tablets in India were manufactured by hand dies. This is now completely changed. Practically all the tablets in the country are now manufactured by automatic machines. However, by the nature of the product, there is a great danger of contamination at every stage of manufacture of tablets. Thus, the creation of proper facilities with highest GMP standards is essential for manufacture of quality tablets.
The key raw material for tablets is good quality lactose. Unfortunately, the effective custom duties of imports of lactose is more than duty on imports of tablets. We are taking up the matter with Government of India to abolish/reduce custom duties on imports of lactose to facilitate use of quality lactose for tablets.
The company who is shy in making necessary investments should think twice before deciding to continue in the manufacturing field of homoeopathy. Others should hasten the necessary investments to improve the quality of their equipments and manufacturing facilities.
How do you see Homoeopathy in India in the year 2020?
Homoeopathy is already the second preferred treatment in the country. Homoeopathy is growing faster than allopathy. Thus the gap between allopathy and homoeopathy is closing. By 2020 the gap would be even narrowed.
By 2020 a large percentage of Indian population may prefer homoeopathy as the first line of treatment.