In the recently held International Arogya Festival 2017 in Delhi, conducted by the Ministry of Ayush, many international pharmaceutical companies showed a keen interest in the drug created by a DRDO scientist that helps cure leucoderma. Owing to this, and encouraged by local demand for herbal medicines, the government is also putting out all stops to tab the global market too. Lack of awareness, myths, and the stigma attached to leucoderma are perhaps the most pressing challenges that take a toll on the social and psychological health of patients. Dermatologists explain that Vitiligo is caused by the lack of melanin, the pigment that gives skin its colour: the body’s immune system attacks the pigment cells, mistaking them for foreign invaders. Worldwide, the incidence of Vitiligo is reported to be 1 to 2 per cent. In India, it is around 4 to 5 per cent, while in some parts of Rajasthan and Gujarat it is as high as 5 to 8 per cent, as per the government data. Lukoskin has been developed after research by the scientists from the DRDO. The technology to manufacture the drug has been transferred to Delhi based AIMIL Pharmaceuticals. Another herbal drug developed by CSIR lab known as BGR-34, which has already acquired number one slot in an anti-diabetic ayurvedic product category in the IMS Health ranking, is also gaining attention. “Allopathic medicines mask the disease and the patient feels that he/she is healed. But it is not so, he asserted. Once the medicine is stopped, the disease relapses. Whereas, this is not the case with the herbal-based medicines which works at the root of the disease,” said Hemant Pande, a senior DRDO scientist. In view of the increasing acceptance for alternate traditional medicines and ensure accountability, various government bodies are undertaking research in ancient old formulations and transferring technology to the commercial firms for public benefits.
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