Bahrain cracks down on alternative medicine
Manama, June 14, 2012
Bahrain’s health authority has issued four directives to control the sale and prescription of traditional, complementary and alternative medicine (TCAM) following concern about the credibility of some businesses.
These explain how such medications should be sold and prescribed, said Dr Wahid Agab, chairman of National Health Regulatory Authority (NHRA).
One directive deals with the regulation of the practice of TCAM, illustrating the guidelines and requirements of people and facilities licensed to sell them, he revealed.
Another provides guidelines for licensing and use of products and equipment for TCAM, while the third describes the requirements of facilities providing such services.
'The fourth directive deals with guidelines for advertising products used for TCAM, particularly for herbal products,' said Dr Agab, who presented examples of potential health hazards resulting from the use of unsafe products.
The expert said the NHRA had received laboratory and clinical confirmation about the danger of using such medications.
'Those who falsely claim medicinal effect of herbs and other such cases have to now strictly adhere to the rules,' he said. 'The NHRA will take strict action and expose all such cases.'
Dr Agab said in many instances false claims of treating serious diseases such as diabetes and cancer had misled people to move from well-proven effective medications into consuming fraudulent and questionable products.
'On other occasions, NHRA inspectors identified banners - particularly in public markets and suqs, making such fraudulent claims,' he said.
NHRA board vice-chairman Dr Kasim Aradati and NHRA chief executive officer Dr Bahaa Eldin Fateha attended the event.
Dr Fateha said the directives were being implemented with immediate effect.
'Any product or practice that is harmful to the life or health of the public will be dealt with immediately, as it is the responsibility of NHRA to ensure safe practice and safe products are available in Bahrain,' he said.
However, Bahrain's existing TCAM institutions will be given a grace period or six months to correct their status and obtain the necessary licences.
'Traditional healers, who have been practising for generations, can continue their practice but will have to update their level of knowledge on infection control,' he said.
'Some practices such as cupping (known as Hujama where the 'bad blood' is sucked out of the body) can lead to spread of diseases, particularly hepatitis and skin infections.'
Dr Fateha said a list of approved specialities of TCAM, based on World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines, had been approved for TCAM in Bahrain.
'These include 13 specialities with proven effectiveness on health and in relieving or treating diseases,' he said.
Dr Fateha said the approved specialities included acupuncture, Ayurveda, siddha, massage therapy, chiropractic, herbal therapy, homoeopathy, naturopathy, osteopathy, traditional Chinese medicine, traditional Japanese medicine, traditional Mongolian medicine and Unani medicine.
'On the other hand, another nine specialities have been approved, where WHO guidelines have recognised their positive effect on health and on treating and or treating some ailments,' he said.
These include aroma therapy, bach flower remedies, colon therapy, chelation therapy, cupping, craniosacral therapy, colon hydrotherapy, reflexology and hydrotherapy. – TradeArabia News Service