Serving The Nation
Abdul Majeed, Chairman, Hamdard Laboratories India has zealously followed Hamdard’s mission and vision for the past 25 years
How do you see indigenous systems holistically?
What we are looking at from this perspective is general wellbeing or improving the quality of life. We had done two or three large researches on what the indigenous system in India is like. Who is prescribing what? How to digitise and modernise the system as everyone is doing treatments but no one is maintaining a database? Records of patients, therapy, recovery – till we don’t have the exact information of all this stored, it is a difficult process for assessing the exact details of every patient. If we look at it holistically, we have come to the conclusion that Unani is our base, but we are not averse to Ayurveda and Allopathy because we are in a hospital also. The vision that my grandfather had was that one day possibly when all the systems are working together and not conflicting with each other or not contradicting each other, then we will achieve an integrated approach.
What Allopathy does is it gives an immediate cure. For example, finishing the existing problems through process of treatment quickly is fine but for regimental therapy there is only Unani and Ayurveda. The solution to problems like a fatty liver or kidney problems, for example. Allopathy manages to handle these problems but Allopathy only treats symptoms. That is not the actual solution to the problem. I believe if all the forms of medicine work together, holistically, that is when all their strengths come together, it will ensure proper treatment. I also believe that if we do a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis we will find that if one therapy has a weakness, it might be another system’s strength. Basically it will be a patient-centric and outcome-centric approach. The motive of Hamdard has always been to provide the best quality products at the least possible price. Profiteering is not the motive at all.
How will your facilities look like in the future?
At this point of time, for the Unani and Ayurvedic part we are trying to upgrade our facilities to the top-notch standard. Our objective is that before we move forward, the existing system needs to be bound in a process and raised to a certain standard. We cannot neglect our core. Therefore, what we are trying to do over the next 2-3 years through our new business unit is to fortify the existing system with processes. Then we will go for the best digitised system. Every part of the organisation will be covered and nothing will be left out. Distribution planning, formulations etc. will be covered in the system. These are our future plans.
Would you not be required to upgrade the R&D facilities to include various therapies?
We already have a state-of-the-art laboratory at Ghaziabad with the latest equipment. Without R&D, nothing will be possible. The problem we are foreseeing in the near future and which all systems will face, including herbal, Unani, Ayurveda and others, is that resources are scarce. Raw material prices are going sky-high and their quality is degrading. We are finding ways to deal with this and hoping that they work out well.
What is the role of technology, and as personalised medication is being developed by other brands, how is Hamdard as a medicine company looking at this aspect?
I think one of the aspects is that genomics is already slightly ingrained in our Unani system. The fundamental difference between all other therapies and Unani is that we are working on temperament. Basically, if you see consumption items today, they are all classified this way. This theory possibly comes from yoga. Yoga is about breathing. Ancient therapies have the same fundamental practices. With the advent of technology like telemedicine during Covid, there has been a decline in the importance of the touch aspect in treatments.
How are we looking at the wellbeing market in the future? What are the changes you think will occur with the emphasis today on prevention and immunisation?
If you look at this in the context of Covid, the first year of the pandemic was less severe than the second year. After the pandemic, I feel that the way the government of India has propagated Unani and Ayurveda, it has led to a shift in the mindset of the consumer. People have realised that they need to focus on their immunity as that is what will save them in the end. People have understood that Allopathy will save them, but instead of going to the hospital again and again and getting cured by Allopathy, it is better to look after one’s general wellbeing. Talking about wellbeing, the motto is – wellbeing of the patient.
Is Hamdard looking at being an active participant in educating the market or the society on the importance of wellbeing?
If you see modern technology, people are getting educated through it and also from other sources, they have started focusing on personal wellbeing. A lot of complications can be avoided. People are becoming aware. By propagating awareness which will only rise and obviously not become less, society as a whole is much more aware than earlier.
How big is Hamdard in the current scenario of Unani and Ayurveda, in terms of the market size and your share?
Whatever research we have done, according to it we were not able to have a very clear picture on the market size. The Unani industry, according to the research, would be around Rs 1,000 crore in size, and we contribute around Rs 400 crore to it. What’s not known though is how much of the industry is organised and how much is unorganised. The other problem is that the medical system in India has gone into complete disarray. There are dispensaries, but there are no doctors in them. In today’s scenario, this has to change rapidly.
How do you see Hamdard changing its perspective towards adapting to certain challenges of today?
We have prepared a task force. Traditional and ancient medicine is very important. The ground reality though is not visible to a major part of society. There is also a dearth of doctors in present times. Our perspective is completely aligned with the changing times. There will be barriers but we are ready to adapt and cross these barriers. We have a philosophy of adapting to changing circumstances. Change is constant and we are ready to align with it.
What has your personal journey been like?
I have learnt a lot through experiences which have challenged me. I have understood that certain things need to be dealt in a certain way and solved. One size doesn’t fit all. I have spoken to people from all spheres of medicine and have learnt a lot about how in the near future things can change rapidly and how I can adapt to it. I have understood that trust is key and Hamdard works on building trust for its products in the eyes of the consumer. If people don’t understand your therapy, then you need to spread a lot of awareness. Education is also very important and professors of Ayurveda need to interact with students. All the systems of medicine always start with the academics.
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