Malawi medicine regulator cautions on herbal, traditional medicines

Pharmacy, Medicines and Poisons Board (PMPB) has expressed concern on the proliferation of herbal and traditional medicine on the market, stating that the use of such drugs may have harm to the users since they are not scientifically proven to be safe .

A herbal medicine Garani are among those that have become popular 

The board has made the observation amid a proliferation of  herbal and traditional medicines  and therapies  some which are promoted as having the ability to treat or heal various health problems and chronic conditions such as HIV/AIDS, diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer.

Public Relations officer for the board, Mphatso Kayuwe, said in an interview that their board has not certified any herbal medicine such that patients should source medicine from regulated places like pharmacies, drug store, hospitals and clinics.

“Currently, no traditional medicine dealer is certified by the PMPB to produce and sell traditional medicines in Malawibecause the products themselves have not been assessed for quality, safety, and efficacy,” Kayuwe said.

Realizing the potential harm, we have drafted regulations for these products which clearly classify them based on safety risk profiles (plant sources used and history of traditional use) and prescribed data requirements for registration and advertisement of traditional/herbal medicines which will be presented to the Ministry of Health for approval.

Licenses for traditional medicines that were initially registered as nutritional supplements were suspended in July 2017 until such a time when the current draft regulations for traditional and complementary medicines are in force,” Kayuwe Explained.

Kayuwe also warned medical dealers to follow the law and shun misinforming the public.

“Any product advertised using medical claims (e.g. intended to treat, to cure or to prevent a disease) is purporting to be a medicine.

A dealer cannot, however, claim to sell a medicine unless they have submitted comprehensive safety, efficacy and quality data from well conducted clinical studies to justify its use,” he added.

The PRO further explained that dealers in medicines are obliged by law to comply to the prescribed measures namely; registration of manufacturer of medicine, registration of the medicinal product, registration of pharmaceutical wholesalers, import permit requirements for every consignment of medicinesand the presence of qualified personnel in premises that engage with clients/patients at all times,” he further explained.

Kayuwe also explained that the PMPB, through the Ministry of Health, has facilitated the repealing of the current Pharmacy, Medicines and Poisons (PMP) Act of 1988 which has no provision for herbal medicine and replaced with the Pharmacy and Medicines Regulation (PMR) Act.

He said that the PMR, with clear provisions on the regulation of allied substances which includes traditional/herbal products, was approved by Cabinet on 6th April, 2018 and is expected to be tabled in parliament soon.

Meanwhile, Malawi Branch Manager for Green World, a supplier of imported herbal drugs, Noel Banda, has commended the provisions by PMPB on the regulation of herbal medicine,saying they will ensure safety for the consumers.

Currently, numerous traditional/herbal drugs are all over making it hard to ascertain their credibility,” Banda said.

“Some herbal suppliers also take advantage of the herbal proliferation to bring in anything, which poses threat for the consumers.

“The regulations will, therefore, ascertain that only those herbsthat are screened and proven should be available on the market,he said.

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Gonapamuhanya The Third Speaks Out
Gonapamuhanya The Third Speaks Out
5 years ago

If these traders are not regulated why are they allowed to advertised on MBC and other local TV stations. Is MACRA not aware that advertising anything illegal is illegal.All this is happening under the wise leadership of his excellency professor Peter Munthalika and is an example of a failed government, which exposes its people to the risk of death due to un certified drugs.

Willie Mwachande
Willie Mwachande
5 years ago

Who regulates the meds which are imported in the country? Have these meds helped the overall health of Malawians one wonders. The herbal medicine is an altenative medicine which cannot and should not be regulated. There is not no medicine on the market right now which cures anything. So we should not be misled by the so called educated elite to determine what is good or bad for us because the medicine they are advocating does not add equity to our overall health. It is high time we revisit what our ancestors used prior to the so called profit driven… Read more »

Cognitive DIssonance Theory
Cognitive DIssonance Theory
5 years ago

The test of any medicine is in the healing/ curing. if people say they get better after taking herbs why should we doubt its efficacy? before western medicines our parents used herbs. The simple thing for you to do is to scientifically prove their efficacy than to waste time issuing warnings.

chimanga chaponda
5 years ago

We use zitsamba za makolo athu. If these zitsamba were bad, would we have been here? After all,there are no medicines in hospitals. This is leading us to rely on what our parents relied on. Are you trying to promote your private pharmacies?

5 years ago

spot on Chimanga. to add on these medicine dispersed in our hospitals are very dangerous- Look at the medicine for aids the way they have deformed our people. I do not know whether the botanical gardens in zomba have now yielded some results- there are herbs there that were preserved with purpose of determining their healing power- Remember Mchape by Mr Chisupe -assisted many people- that herb had healing power. we need to intensify the growing of mint leaves, ginger, cucumbers, and lemons. the mixture of these four herbs will end all your problems of sickness- even mosquito plasmodium can… Read more »

5 years ago
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