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Scientists protest against herbal medicines
Written by Cherry   
Thursday, 23 February 2012

Nowadays, herbal drugs can be easily purchased in the market. Health practitioners are protesting that those drugs should adhere to safety regulations and industry standards. Antonio Miguel Dans, a cardiologist and National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) division chairman, stressed out that herbal drug must be restricted to the public. He said that the World Health Organization is not in favour of the customary medicine in the Philippines. Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Health Care (PITAHC) promotes herbal medicines in syrup & tablet forms based on the scientific processing of sambong, tsaang gubat and lagundi. It also sells herbal soaps. However, PITAHC requires herbal drug companies to comply with TM/CAM standardization and regulation.

A government owned and controlled firm, PITAHC has four herbal processing plants at present. The locations are in Cagayan Valley, Leyte, Cotabato, and Davao. In a study conducted by Women’s Institute for Sustainable Economic Action (WiseAct), the clientele of herbal products continue to grow. It started in 2006 as the profit gained from the sales of organic cosmetics increased to more than a billion dollar while the income generated to 7 billion dollars in 2009. Herbal products are also being exported in several Southeast Asian countries which produced $1 billion revenue. The entry of foreign drugs had badly affected the local industry. Herbal drugs in the Philippines had undergone scientific examination but the negative criticisms of foreign drug distributors towards the local drugs made the customer feel distrustful of our local products. This resulted to low ROI and misconception on intellectual property. At present, Akapulko ointment awaits to be registered at the Food and Drugs Administration. Also, ampalaya, malunggay (Moringa oleifera), and yerba buena (Clinopodium douglasii) tablets are initially registered under FDA. However, ongoing studies are undertaken for the registration of malunggay and ampalaya tablets. PITAHC clarified that there is no rules on chemical standardization; the herbal industry needs principles to resolve such issues. [via businessmirror.com.ph]


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