The newly formed pan India organisation of Siddha hospitals and clinics, ASHC, headquartered in Madurai has wanted the government of Tamil Nadu to take proactive measures to open ample number of Siddha retail pharmacies across the state as the people who want to go with traditional Siddha drugs are unable to avail them in their vicinity. Due to unavailability of Siddha drugs in cities as well as in rural areas like those of modern medicines, the unemployed Siddha graduates are reluctant to open clinics attached to their residence or nearby it, says Dr. J Jaya Venkatesh, founder president of ‘Association of Siddha Hospitals & Clinics (ASHC)’. “Although Siddha system is commonly considered as a regional traditional healing system originated in Tamil Nadu, the people of the state have poor accessibility to medicines due to lack of pharmacies in their localities. Even in major cities, only three or four Siddha medicine shops are functioning. Same is the case with manufacturing units also. If the government lends a hand to the shrinking Siddha sector, it will grow like the Ayurveda system. More manufacturing units and more retail Siddha pharmacies will help attract more people to the system and open opportunities for employment to thousands of Siddha graduates,” he said. Sharing information with Pharmabiz, he said there are over 12,000 Siddha graduates (BSMS) came out of institutions belong to Tamil Nadu and Kerala. In the private sector, both the hospitals and clinics together come around only 6,000. The practitioners in these clinics themselves prescribe and dispense medicines to their patients. Most often, they cannot prescribe and dispense all the required drugs as there is shortage or non-availability of many drugs in the essential category. Dr. Jaya Venkatesh said several of the Siddha drugs are not available in Tamil Nadu and not manufactured anywhere. It is too difficult to get or purchase the most commonly used medicines.