Being an island rich and flourishing in its natural resources, Sri Lanka has ample capacity towards the development of medicine and pharmaceutical industry. Among the natural resources of the country are a wide array of indigenous flora and mineral deposits and these coupled with the inherent traditional knowledge on Ayurveda and herbal medicinal practices which place us a step ahead in present day medicine. However, Sri Lanka is spending around US $ 140 million annually for the import of medicinal drugs alone. Hence, it is obvious that the value of our natural products and knowledge is undermined. In addition, there are multiple shortcomings such as microbial resistance to antibiotics, potential health hazards and occurrence of side effects in most of the widely used synthetic drugs. These emphasize the need for the development of novel, safe, effective and potent drugs where products could play a significant role. This lies in parallel with the 2012 budget which stated that the action will be taken ‘to develop manufacturing of pharmaceuticals in Sri Lanka as a Strategic Import Replacement Enterprise by granting tax holidays for investment in the pharmaceuticals production’.
Hence, the M.Sc. programme in Pharmaceutical Botany is focused on training students for the improvement and utilization of our natural products in the pharmaceutical industry, which would virtually be filling a national gap. In this aspect, the M.Sc. programme in Pharmaceutical Botany within its framework will provide the knowledge, training and skills required to cater to the pharmaceutical needs of the country as well as to the entire world. A firm foundation in Botany will give a cutting edge to improve pharmaceutically useful plants and their management (in endeavoring to assure an adequate supply of products for the earth’s ever-growing population).