Following closely upon the meeting of the Drugs Technical Advisory Board, recently held at New Delhi, it is understood, the Interim Government will implement the Drug Act of 1940 with effect from April 1947. Definite steps will be taken towards the standardisation and quality-control of spurious and sub-standard drugs for driving them out of the Indian market and penalising the offenders.
Measures have been devised for the establishment and functioning of Drug Laboratories in all the Indian provinces from this month, viz., April 1947. Thus a long-felt desideration of Indias suffering millions will now be removed.
This measures directly touches allopathic pharmacies and drug trade. The Homoeopathic pharmacies and drug houses may also be brought in line with the provisions of this Drug Act if the Government thinks it fit to apply them punctiliously to all schools of medicine practised in this vast subcontinent, each school vying with the other in pompous pageantry of patent nostrums elegantly wrapped in cleverly written literature.
Patent medicine is for all time tabooed in Homoeopathy, and so are the mixtures and tablets compounded of two, three or more drugs catalogued in the price-lists issued by homoeopathic pharmacists in overseas countries to cater to the demands of pseudo homoeopathists whom Hahnemann styled as mongrel sect. The basis of Homoeopathy is concisely yet broadly expressed thus: (a) Similar symptoms, (b) single medicine and (c) minimum dose. These three principles must always run together, must always coalesce; infringement of any one of these three rules in practising homoeopathy inevitably blasts the entire construction of similia similibus curantur.
Practice apart, the Drug Act and its enforcement officers are solely concerned with the quality and the proportion of the ingredients, also the resultant articles. If the law is to apply to the homoeopathic pharmacies in this country, the inspecting officers should be trained in Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia before being entrusted with the duty of inspecting the homoeopathic pharmacies.
Standardization of allopathic pharmacopoeia medicines is based upon the alkaloidal content of each medicine, its keeping age, its assayed therapeutic and lethal doses, and in case of chemical compounds also their compatibility, affinity and fixed proportions. The standardization of Homoeopathic medicines is governed by entirely different pharmaceutical rules.
In this country, hardly any Homoeopathic pharmacopoeia medicine is prepared excepting a few medicines from indigenous herbs; all others are imported from overseas countries, mostly from U.S.A., a few from the U.K., and those that used to come from Germany are now unavailable. These foreign medicines are imported in their original mother-tincture form and potentized here, but the largest majority of them are brought in their back-potencies and further potentized here.
The vehicles used for potentizing locally must therefore receive the primary and rigorous attention of the inspecting officers. For liquid medicines ALCOHOL and for solid (powdered) drugs SUGAR OF MILK are the vehicles directed by the Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia for purposes of potentization. Therefore, the quality of these two articles must answer the test of Pharmacopoeia.
The liquid vehicle, i.e. alcohol must primarily be double distilled, and for a number of specified medicines their potentization has to be carried on with either distilled water or alcohol of reduced strength as determined in the Pharmacopoeia. Likewise, the Sugar Milk must answer the test of the Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia. The inspecting officers must therefore be thoroughly conversant with these details to avoid any stupid conflict with the pharmacies.
The official Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the U.S.A. has now imposed an uniform standard of 10 per cent drug strength, thus eliminating the former double standard, the decimal and the centesimal, and securing an uniformity of standard.
This uniformity is expected to facilitate the duty of the inspecting officers in checking the drug-strength of both the imported and indigenous tinctures and confiscating those that do not tally with this standard. There are a few Homoeopathic tinctures and solutions specified in the U.S.A. official pharmacopoeia the standard drug-strength of which are fixed at 1/1000, 1/100, 1/667, and 1/20 respectively, and in respect of these as well as of all other tinctures the precision is of great importance.
Nonetheless important is the lay-out and arrangement of the room used for potentizing the medicines. Since the vehicle used for potentizing is very volatile, it carries with it atoms of the tincture and spreads over the atmosphere of the room. Therefore, two or more medicines must not be potentized in the room at one and the same time though handled by different persons on different tables.
The room should be protected from any ingress of outside air carrying odour and particles of dust and mixing up with the medicine thereby spoiling its virtue. After the particular tincture-potency has been completed and removed from the room to be stored, the doors and windows should be opened for free ventilation and clearing away any trace of the odour of the tincture before bringing another medicine to be potentized there.
The Homoeopathic Laboratory does not possess any rat, rabbit, monkey and guinea-pig for purposes of assaying medicines for human use. The drug-strength of Homoeopathic medicine is not calculated on its alkaloid content but on the original drug (either vegetable, mineral, animal, nosodes, imponderabilia, sarcodes) that the medicine should contain in the portion fixed according to the Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia, the purity of that original drug being of the first importance.
The process of trituration as prescribed by Hahnemann must be rigidly observed to obtain the results (symptoms) marshalled in Materia Medica, and here the purity of sugar of milk must answer the test (both physical and chemical) of Hahnemann.
In aphorism 271 of Hahnemanns Organon which is the Gospel of Homoeopathy, Hahnemann at once over-rules his previous instructions about preparing medicines from fresh plants, and this new process ever so much simplifies the method of preparation. In this modification, only a few grains of the fresh plant taken in a wedge-wood mortar should be triturated with sugar of milk according to Hahnemanns prescribed process until 1/1000,000 is reached. It should then be dynamized with alcohol according to the prescribed process.
The Government Inspector of Homoeopathic Pharmacies must be thoroughly acquainted with all these details, else there will possibly be constant clash between them and the pharmacists and lead to unpleasant contingencies. The All-India Homoeopathic Pharmacists Federation has been founded, registered and is operating at the right moment indeed.