After several years, the government is planning to procure the Unani medicines from the private sector and is in the process of finalising a tender, even as efforts are on to make available the drugs from Indian systems of medicines in the primary and community health centres.
Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) has been procuring unani medicines through various sources for its beneficiaries. Most of the Unani medicines are procured from Indian Medicines Pharmaceutical Company Limited (IMPCL), a public sector undertaking under Department of Ayush.
During the last few years, procurement of medicines for Unani system has been done mainly from IMPCL and partly through local purchase. Last tendering process for procurement of Unani medicines from private manufacturers was successfully completed in 2006-07. The CGHS formulary of Unani medicines contains 169 classical medicines. Out of which 94 items are manufactured by IMPCL and procured directly. Remaining 75 classical medicines of the formulary and branded formulary medicines can be procured from other manufacturers through tender process.
Under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), it has been decided that medicines from other branches like Ayurveda, Homoeopathy and Unani would also be made available under one roof in the primary and community health centres. This has been done in some places already and there was huge demand for such medicines, especially for diseases like blood pressure, cough, fever, etc. It is expected to give a fillip to the private sector industry in the sectors.
The states are free to follow their own rules and regulations for purchase of medicines other than procurement funded under the centrally sponsored scheme implemented by the Department of Ayush.