Materia Medica Malaysiana

August 25, 2003


Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 7:07 am

New Straits Times Online :Bill on use of traditional medicines

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 22: The Health Ministry is drafting a Bill that will provide guidelines on the
use of Traditional and Complementary Medicine (TCM) in the country,
minister Datuk Chua Jui Meng said today.

He said the move was initiated following numerous public complaints against illegal traditional practitioners, both local and foreign, and the sale of unregistered medicines in the market.

He said the Bill would, among other things, provide for the formation of a TCM Council that will govern the practice of TCM in the coun-try, the registration of bona fide TCM practitioners, and the registration and use of quality TCM products.

“We have received thousands of complaints of unregistered traditional medicines being sold in the market and on the increasing number of illegal traditional practitioners treating people for various illnesses,” he told reporters after officiating a two-day National Homeopathy Conference at Pan Pacific Hotel here.

Chua, who said there was currently no law to regulate the use of such medicine, however, declined to disclose when the draft would be ready for tabling in Parliament.

At present, there are 3,701 practitioners registered under five traditional umbrella bodies — Society of Traditional Indian Medicine, Feder-ation of Traditional Malay Medicine of Malaysia, Federation of Chinese Physicians and Medicine Dealers Association of Malaysia, Malaysian Council for Homeopathic Medicine and Malaysian Society for Complementary Therapies.

There are 2,221 Chinese traditional practitioners, Malays (300), Indians (84), homeopathy (687) and 409 various modalities under complementary medicines.

Chua said recent years had seen an explosion of products labelled as homeopathic or traditional.

Since 1992, the National Phar-maceutical Control Bureau had taken active steps to register and monitor all TCM products. This included analysing them for heavy metals, steroids, microbial content and adulteration with active pharmaceutical ingredients, to ensure the safety and quality of the products.

Only TCM products in pharmaceutical dosage forms are subjected to registration and to date, the bureau had registered 11,632 such products.

“We will do whatever is necessary to regulate the practice of TCM and not allow the lack of a legal instrument to be an excuse for apathy,” said Chua, adding that the Ministry was guiding TCM practitioners, through their umbrella bodies.

The Ministry, he said, also planned to establish a new TCM Division which would be responsible for the structured development of TCM and the quality and standards of their services in the country and the proposal was being discussed with the Public Service Department.

Chua said the newly-formed National Committee for Research and Development on Herbal Medicine was also into the research and development of herbal medicine.

He also said the Cabinet had also allocated RM38 million to make Malaysia a global information hub on the integration of western and traditional medicine.

The National Committee, Chua said, had also directed the Malay traditional practitioners to document whatever they do for evidence, as presently the trade is passed down by word of mouth.

“We are also encouraging local universities to offer courses and training on TCM,” he said, adding that some universities like Universiti Putra Malaysia, International Medical University, and Universiti Sains Malaysia had already introduced TCM awareness courses in their undergraduate and post-graduate medical programmes.

When told that some TCM practitioners call themselves “doctors”, Chua said it was an offence under Section 33 (1) of the Medical Act 1971.

On the recruitment of foreign doctors, Chua said the Cabinet had directed the Chief Secretary to the Government to hold talks with the relevant agencies such as the Public Services Commission and the Malaysian Medical Council to study how they could shorten the process.

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