Though not gone through clinical tests on humans like many allopathic drugs, a partically validated anti-diabetes herbal drug called BGR-34 was launched commercially by a Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) lab in Lucknow on Sunday, assuring that it has no side effects.
Priced relatively much higher than an allopathic drug at Rs.5 per tablet, the drug manufactured by Aimil Pharmaceuticals, has been jointly developed by two CSIR laboratories, National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI) and Central Institute for Medicinal and Aromatic Plant (CIMAP) — both funded by government and the tax money collected from the public.
It was officially launched on the 62nd annual day of the NBRI for commercial manufacturing, but the price revealed has come as a shocker without any explanation. There are many Ayurvedic drugs for diabetes available in the market but the BGR-34 claims that it was scientifically proved on animals and "achieved 67%" success, while no proof of it has been uploaded by the NBRI on its website.
"The drug has extracts from four plants mentioned in Ayurveda and that makes it safe," said Dr AKS Rawat, senior principal scientist, NBRI. It was not made clear whether the drug has undergone any officially prescribed test on humans or not. "It has been tested on animals and scientific study has found it safe and effective, with clinical trials showing 67% success," said the scientist without giving the details.
The NBRI claims that the drug boosts immune system, works as antioxidant and checks free radicals and help maintain normal blood glucose levels, reduce chances of complications due to persistent high blood glucose levels and impart a good quality life to patients with high blood sugar levels.
While the allopathic medicine for diabetes called Melmet is sold Rs.25 for 15 tablets, almost Re.1.60 per tablet, the Ayurvedic medicine at Rs.5 per tablet is an eye-opener in a country like India where the Ayurvedica and Herbal medicines are funded by the government but priced high in the commercial market.
"We will manufacture it now and it will be available in market shortly," says V S Kapoor, marketing head of Aimil Pharmaceuticals for UP and Delhi. It is priced at Rs 500 for 100 tablets.
However, the major complaint on all Ayurvedic medicines is that they have not been put through the rigorous human clinical trial and very often touted to be "without side effects", which is not always true.