The government agencies and institutions like DST, DBT, AYUSH, ICMR and CSIR have developed 28 new molecules targeting chronic diseases like blood pressure, diabetics, gastric ulcer and asthma.

The new molecules also include herbal medicines with a view to ensure cost effective therapy to the people as the country is fast turning into a hub of chronic diseases. This was disclosed in the action taken report on the recommendations by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology on drugs and pharmaceutical research programme. The panel, headed by Dr V Maitreyan, submitted the report recently.

The Indian Council of Medial Research (ICMR) has set up its research priority on all relevant diseases which include both communicable as well as life style chronic diseases. The Council is also interacting with a number of industries and international agencies with regard to access of drugs to the economically weaker sections of the society of the country, the panel was informed.

CSIR laboratories are working on programmes on new drug development for life style diseases such as diabetes, stroke, thrombosis, dyslipidemia, stress, gastric ulcer, dementia etc. A programme on diabetes mellitus will be specifically initiated during the 11th Plan.

DBT has supported various R&D (Multi-centric interactive) projects for chronic diseases and life style disorders such as cancer, cardiothoracic disorder, diabetes, neurological joint disease etc. The department has also taken up an initiative to start clinical trial using Curcumin for various cancers such as oral pre-cancerous lesions, head and neck cancer and cervical cancer.

Diseases like Malaria, Filaria, Urinary problems, Memory disorders and health problems commonly affecting poor people are included in the list of gap areas identified for research and development of Ayurvedic medicines under Golden Triangle Partnership (GTP) scheme of AYUSH.

Drug development for common parasitic diseases and microbial infections covering malaria, filaria, leishmaniasis, kala-azar, and tuberculosis would continue as priority programmes during 11th Plan also. The DBT has launched a collaborative effort with ICMR towards development of novel microbicides targeting HIV I AIDS and other STDs. A novel anti malarial compound has been transferred to Shreya Life Sciences, Mumbai by National Centre for Cell Sciences (NCCS), Pune.