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Call to develop new drugs

Staff Reporter

Thiruvananthapuram: The country needs a joint effort by chemists, physicians, biologists and clinicians for developing new drugs, especially for cancer and other dreaded diseases, and for carrying out clinical trials on human beings.

The Government can lend support to the task by providing sufficient grants and by enabling multi-institutional support. This was mooted at the session on natural products and cancer organised here on Tuesday as part of the ongoing four-day International Symposium on Translational Research: Apoptosis and Cancer.

Teamwork needed

Bharat Agarwal of MD Anderson Cancer Centre, Houston, said India had been lagging behind in developing new drugs as chemists, physicians, biologists and clinicians work independently. Indian chemists are the best in the world, but they are ignored. "Teamwork will do wonders for the country. A golden opportunity awaits the country and it should be able to exploit modern technology," he said.

"We should be able to tell about the active compounds and to carry out clinical trials. Otherwise, it will remain as a home remedy."

Venugopal P. Menon of the Annamalai University pointed out that patenting was one of the biggest problem faced by the universities.

Oommen V. Oommen, organising secretary of the seminar, regretted that there was no exchange of ideas between clinicians and physicians. It was also pointed out that the focus should be on strength of indigenous system of medicine and on gathering evidence.

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