India Rethinks Supplements Sector


An October meeting of more than 250 Indian food supplements and botanicals industry heads and legislators has highlighted the need for improved manufacturing processes and regulatory changes to meet changing domestic and international demands.

At the top of the agenda was the need to create a new legal category for dietary supplements. At present they are regulated as either foods or medicines—a situation industry sources say is inappropriate to many food supplements that may seek to make health claims without being classified as medicines or foods. Another category exists for India?s traditional herbal products—Ayurvedic medicines. These, however, can be administered only by a licensed practitioner.

Promoting safety, good manufacturing processes and efficacy were all seen as vital action areas, with the burden of producing safety data falling upon industry.

Modernisation Moves
The modernisation of India?s supplements sector has been gaining momentum as the world?s second most populous country seeks to crack down on pirate manufacturers and boost its international image in both supplements and Ayurvedic medicines.

?The government and industry realise they have to improve manufacturing processes and gather the kind of science the developed world demands if they are to compete with the likes of Chinese traditional medicines,? said Derek Shrimpton, the European Health Product Manufacturers Association?s scientific advisor, who attended the meeting.

Fabian Samuel, director of Indian ingredients supplier, exporter and supplements manufacturer, Indfrag, agreed the industry needs to clean up its act. ?There are a lot of unscrupulous manufacturers in India that give other manufacturers a bad name. So these initiatives are long overdue.?

At present, there is a voluntary Good Manufacturing Practices scheme in India.

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