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Tough laws soon on alternative medicines

Manama, October 18, 2011

Bahrain is to bring in tough new regulations to monitor the use and sale of alternative medicine. The sector is largely unregulated and could be open to abuse, said National Health Regulatory Authority chief executive officer, Dr Baha Eldin Fateha.

A delegation will travel to China next month to study the country's alternative medicine laws, particularly those governing quality control, he said.

"Work on setting up new regulations is now on and will be operational soon," Dr Fateha told the GDN.

"The rules will be tough but there will be no obstacles once the green light has been given.

"Bahrain is far behind other countries in the region, not only in regulations but also in guidelines and we need to come up with some soon."

Dr Fateha admitted anyone could bring a substance into Bahrain and tout it as alternative medicine.

"Quacks are having a field day and can get away with anything in the absence of proper regulations," he said.

Dr Fateha added that new rules would help curb such activities.

"We know we cannot eliminate it completely, but shall almost completely control it," he said.

Dr Fateha said that there had been countless cases of herbs being used as diabetes medicine and (pencil) lead being touted as a cure for other ailments.

"In one case, we had a trader selling lead, purportedly from Morocco, claiming it had medicinal effects," he said. "There have also been many cases of diabetes and cancer patients getting complicated due to the use of so-called herbal medicines."

Dr Fateha said the new laws, when fully implemented, would make Bahrain one of the leaders in the field for alternative medicine. – TradeArabia News Service

Tags: Bahrain | China | law | Manama | Alternative medicine | Complications |

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