PUTRAJAYA: Doctors need to report cases of adverse reactions to traditional medicines for the Health Ministry to establish the safety levels of the products, said Minister Datuk Chua Jui Meng.
He said doctors had not responded positively to the Malaysian Adverse Drug Reaction Advisory Committee’s call for them to report such cases, which would enable the establishment of a database of product safety profiles, particularly when the products were used together with other medication.
Of 1,000 reports on adverse drug reactions received by the committee last year, he said, only 29 pertained to traditional medicines.
“With the growing demand for herbal remedies, it will certainly be of great help if doctors report to us any adverse reactions related to their use.
“We cannot expose the public to dangers arising from the use of traditional medicines,” he said at the Malaysian Medical Association’s (MMA) dinner at the Marriot Hotel here on Friday night.
Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Tuanku Syed Putra Jamalullail and Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Fauziah Tengku Abdul Rashid attended the dinner, held in conjunction with the 43rd MMA annual general meeting.
Chua was responding to MMA’s appeal to the ministry to have traditional medicines undergo vigorous testing and registration procedures similar to those for allopathic pharmaceuticals.
He said the ministry, which had started registering traditional medicines since January 1992 under the Control of Drugs and Cosmetics Regulations 1984, carried out post-registration surveillance in the market and examined labels and package inserts to ensure correct information was given to consumers.
He said the Government recently approved a paper submitted by the ministry seeking co-operation from the other ministries to curb non-approved advertisements.
Chua received the MMA Gold Medal Award 2003 for his outstanding contributions to the healthcare industry from MMA president Dr N. Arumugam.