Brunei-Muara - Some 150 representatives of healthcare institutions in Southeast Asia are here for a meeting that will set the bases for standardising rules governing traditional medicines and health supplements in the region.
The seventh meeting of the product working group under the Consultative Committee on Standard and Quality (ACCSQ) for Traditional Medicine and Health Supplements, which ends today, is part of the group‘s work programme and a follow-through of the 29th ACCSQ Meeting.
It highlights the Sixth Meeting of ACCSQ working group, the outcome of the seminar on the role of science in the regulation of traditional medicines and health supplements and discussions on implementation of the work programme, said the Ministry of Health.
During the opening ceremony of the meeting held at at the Royal Berkshire Hall of the Jerudong Park Country Club, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health Dato Paduka Serbini Hj Ali said, "Traditional medicines arevery widely used today andin some parts of the world they have rapidly become a partof the health system and(have gained) economic importance."
The working group will be addressing technical issues during the meeting on the implementation and harmonisation of traditional medicine and health supplements by the year 2010. Among their objectives is to establish a conformity assessment system to regulate the safety and quality of these products, the setting up of a product placement system that suits all member countries, fixed labelling requirements, the endorsement of Good Manufacturing Practice draft guidelines for traditional medicine and health supplements products.
A seminar was held prior to the current meeting to further promote the sharing of comprehensive scientific information and experiences on traditional medicines and health supplements.
During the seminar on July 9, five speakers from Hungary, Indonesia and the United States of America delivered talks on several topics related to regulating traditional medicine and health supplements. They highlighted some of the key issues on standards, quality, safety and exploring ways to address them.
A variety of topics were covered at the seminar, including a related issue which was was highlighted by Indonesian representative Professor Dr Suwijiyo Pramono on the importance of eco-conservation.
He said that the uncontrolled exploitation of the natural resources must be regulated in order to prevent unnecessary environmental destruction and to protect endangered resources and over-exploitation of indigenous natural resources.
The permanent secretary expressed his hopes that the meeting would succeed in addressing technical issues regarding the need for labelling standards and other aspects such as risk management and product testing.
"Asean regulatory harmonisation may not be easy and may not move as fast as we would like it to be but I am sure that the steps that will be taken over the next few days will be significant ones,"he said.
Source: www.bruneitimes.com (12 Juli 2007)