Govt slammed over lack of regulations for complementary medicines

Govt slammed over lack of regulations for complementary medicinesThe Health Products Association '€“ the umbrella body for the complementary and alternative medicines industry - has criticized the government for failing to create regulations the industry.

The Health Products Association ‘€“ the umbrella body for the complementary and alternative medicines industry – has criticized the government for failing to create regulations the industry.

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The audio is in isiZulu. See english summary below.

MABUTHO: Ongumqondisi wenhlangano iHealth Products Association uNksz Mmathabo Kona uthi kuze kube manje uhulumeni wehlulekile ukuqhamuka nomthetho  olawula imithi engaphansi kwenhlangano yakhe ama Complemetary and Alternative Medicine (CAMS) neyaziwa kakhulu ngokuthi imithi yamavithamini.   Oka Kona ubekhuluma esithangimini sabezindaba lapho ethe bona njengabantu abasebenza ngemithi lena yamavithamini bafuna ukuthi bameleleke ezinhlakeni zomnyango wezempilo kanye nasemkhandlwini olawula imithi kuleli iMedicines Control Council (MCC).Uthi nakuba emnyangweni wezempilo bebekhona abantu ebebebhekele izindaba zemithi engaphansi kwabo, kodwa abanalwazi ngalemithi.

MMATHABO KONA: At the Department of Health there were people who were responsible for CAMS (Complementary and Alternative Medicines). But they had no idea about CAMS. That does not help. We are hoping for a proper representation of qualified personnel in the MCC and the Department of Health.

MABUTHO:   Uthi njengamanje akukho muthetho eolawula loluhlobo lwemithi. Kodwa uthi inhlangano yakhe isalokhu iqhubekile nokuxoxisana nomnyango wezempilo ukuze izwi labo lizozwakala ngoba bona abafuni imithetho yezemithi enokucwasa phakathi.

MMATHABO KONA: HPA (Health Products Association) is in continuous contact with the DOH (Department of Health). You don’€™t want to know. Because we want regulation, but it must be appropriate and proper and corresponding to the complementary medicine regulation. Not from other paradigm because we operate from different paradigm.

MABUTHO:  Uthi ngokubona ukuthi uhulumeni ubonisa ukungazishayimkhuba izikhalo zabo, basungule ikomiti elizimele (Self Monitoring Technical Committee) elizobheka labo abasebenzisa loluhlobo lwemithi ukuqola abantu ngokuthi baqambe amanga basho okungekhona ngemithi yabo ukuze umphakathi uzoyithenga.

MMATHABO KONA:   You find that someone says ‘€˜it contains Vitamin C and it will boast your immune system.’€™ And it’€™s only like 2 miligrams of Vitamini C. That is so unethical and misleading, small things like that. That’€™s what SMTC (Self Monitoring Technical Committee) is involved with.

MABUTHO: Khonamanjalo noDr Alan Tomlinson ongusihlalo wayo iHPA ukugcizelele ukuthi benza konke okusemandleni ukuvikela umphakathi kulabo abakhuluma okungelona iqiniso ngemithi yabo ngokuthi bazibophezele ekwenzini ucwaningo lwezesayensi kuloluhlobo kwimithi engaphansi kwabo ukuze izokwamukeleka.

DR ALAN TOMLINSON: We are very anxious to do good scientific research because then, our members will be able to be supported by good science. Because if we can demonstrate scientifically that intervention with food supplementation at a stage when a patient is well and healthy can maintain that stage for a long period of time then we will really have achieved something.

MABUTHO: Ngokwesitatimende esikhishwe umnyango wezempilo kuzwelonke udaba oluphathelene naloluhlobo lwemithi eyaziwa ngama Complementary and Alternative Medicines okanye imithi yama vithamini njengoba abaningi beyibiza kanjalo luyalungiswa njengoba kukhona uhlaka olukhishiwe ukuba umphakathi ubeko uvo lwawo ngaloluhlobo lwemithi okuyothi ngokuhamba kwesikhathi bese luyothulwa kwithimba elibhekele imithetho emnyangweni wezempilo. Lesisitatimende siqhuba sithi loluhlaka luzosiza umkhandlu olawula imithi iMedicines Control Council ukuqikelela ukuthi lonke uhlobo lwalemithi ekhangiswayo nethengiswa kuleli iphephile nokuthi isezingeni lokuthi ingasetshenziswa ngabantu.

Govt slammed over lack of regulations for complementary medicines

The Health Products Association ‘€“ the umbrella body for the complementary and alternative medicines industry – has criticized the government for failing to create regulations the industry.

Speaking during a media briefing in Johannesburg, Health Products Association (HPA) executive director, Mmathabo Kona said the government has failed to come up with regulation for the Complementary and Alternative Medicines industry. She said regulations for the industry could be realized sooner if the Department of Health allowed the HPA participation in efforts to draft these.  

‘€œAt the Department of Health there were people who were responsible for CAMS (complementary and alternative medicines). But they had no idea about CAMS. That does not help. We are hoping for a proper representation of qualified personnel in the MCC (Medicines Control Council) and the Department of Health.’€ she said.

She said, however, her organization will continue engaging the Department if Health on the matter.

‘€œHPA is in continuous contact with the DOH (Department of Health) because we want regulation. But it must be appropriate and proper and corresponding to the complementary medicine regulation. Not from other paradigm because we operate from different paradigm.’€

The urgency of such legislation saw the HPA establishing a Self Monitoring Technical Committee to put checks in place that Complementary and Alternative Medicines producers and promoters operate ethically.    

‘€œYou find that someone says ‘€˜it contains Vitamin C and it will boast your immune system.’€™ And it’€™s only like 2 milligrams of Vitamin C. That’€™s so unethical and misleading, small things like that. That’€™s what SMTC (Self Monitoring Technical Committee) is involved with,’€ Kona said.

HPA chairman Dr Alan Tomlinson is concerned the lack of regulations allows for rogue elements within the field to make unsubstantiated medicinal claims about their products. He emphasized the commitment of his organization to scientifically proven research to exclude manufacturers who make false curative claims about their products.

‘€œWe are very anxious to do good scientific research because then, our members will be able to be supported by good science. Because if we can demonstrate scientifically that intervention with food supplementation at a stage when a patient is well and healthy can maintain that stage for a long period of time then we will really have achieved something,’€ said Dr Tomlinson.

Responding to accusations that it’€™s dragging its feet in formulating regulations for the Complementary and Alternative Medicines industry, the Health Department issued a statement saying that draft regulations were developed and published for public comment and that these were being reviewed after which they will then be considered by the legal unit of the Department of Health before being submitted to the Minister of Health.