Materia Medica Malaysiana

March 12, 2007

Traditional Medicine Practitioners Need To Be On Ad Board

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:33 am

KUALA LUMPUR, March 11 (Bernama) — A qualified traditional and complementary medicines practitioner should be appointed into the Health Ministry’s Medicinal Advertisement Board to advise them on the advertisements of such medicines.
Malaysian Medical Association (MMA)’s past president Datuk Dr Lee Yan San said although the association was not against the practice of traditional and complementary medicines, there should be adequate control on them and they must be practised “honestly and ethically.”
“Although there are strict laws that prohibit uncontrolled advertisement of the medicines, implementation of the laws have been lacking and in some cases not effective because of the lack of enforcement,” he said.
He was speaking at a talk on “The Media and Health: The Science of Evidence-based Management of Cancer and Chronic Illness” organised by the Malaysian Oncological Society and MMA here today.
Dr Lee claimed that the unscrupulous advertisers seemed to have found loopholes between the three authorities namely Health, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs and Information ministries which were responsible in vetting such advertisement.
However, the board had banned advertisement of such products for 20 diseases including cancer, hypertension, diabetes, AIDS, liver disease and kidney disease, he said.
“It is important to stress that the Health Ministry approves traditional medicines only on safety and quality but not efficacy,” he said and urged the Information Ministry to take steps to control such advertisements although it generated good revenue for the media.
Meanwhile Malaysian Oncological Society’s President Dr Gurcharan Singh said there was an alarming rise of such articles and advertisements in the electronic and printed media, which were mostly misleading and did not have any scientific evidence to prove their efficacy and safety.
“The media in the country must vet any article or advertisement on traditional and complementary medicines to prevent the public from being duped by manufacturers of the products,” he said.
He said according to a study on 260 traditional and complementary medicinal products, 32 per cent of them had undeclared pharmaceuticals or heavy metals and 23 products had more than one adulterant.
While urging the media to be more responsible in publishing such reports or advertisement since it would misled the public, he called on the medical related professional organisations to rebut such false claims.

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