Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Brunei - ASEAN traditional medicines need regulatory standards

THE country is fully supportive of efforts to strengthen regulatory control of traditional medicines and health supplements, according to a senior government official.

Dr Hjh Norlila Dato Paduka Hj Abdul Jalil, Deputy Permanent Secretary (Professional & Technical) Ministry of Health (MoH), in her opening address at the welcoming dinner for the 18th Meeting of the Traditional Medicines and Health Supplements Product Working Group (TMHS PWG) at the Rizqun International Hotel, yesterday underlined the ministry's commitment in this area.

She noted how the MoH had already established a Traditional, Complimentary and Alternative Medicine Unit under the Department of Medical Services.

The unit will enable, "the integration of traditional practices into our health care system as one of universal access."

Dr Hjh Norlila believed the meeting can achieve "the ASEAN Harmonization Scheme for Traditional Medicine and Health Supplement in support of an ASEAN Economic Community by 2015."

She further said, "the mandate of this working group will facilitate trade and spur the growth of high quality and safe traditional medicines and health supplements in the region."

Also speaking at the dinner, the ASEAN secretariat Isgani C Erna mentioned that the meeting was to ensure the health and safety for the citizens of ASEAN.

Isgani emphasised the need for the medicinal products to meet the required quality and safety standards in the region before entering the market.

Marie Tham, Chair of the TMHS PWG, shared an achievement of the working group. The group had finalised and adopted the maximum levels of vitamins and minerals "despite the different national requirements and regulatory framework relating to nutrients."

ASEAN was the first region to do so. However, she contended that more have to be done to establish regional regulatory standards.

Specific technical discussion groups were created for the meeting. The groups include ASEAN traditional medicines and health supplements Scientific Committee, a task force on good manufacturing practice guidelines for traditional medicines and health supplements products, a technical working group for a product dossier for products and a task force on ASEAN regulatory framework for the products.

The TMHS PWG hopes the discussions would lead to results which meet the expectations underlined in the ASEAN Economic Community Scorecard for TMHS products.

According to the press release by MoH, the TMHS PWG was established in 2004. It is one of the sectoral bodies under the ASEAN Consultative Committee on Standards and Quality (ACCSQ).

This body is a step towards the placement of traditional and medicine and health supplements for trade around ASEAN.

The meetings will conclude on November 16.


The Brunei Times

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