‘Stringent accreditation standards needed for TCM practitioners’
PUTRAJAYA: Stringent accreditation standards for traditional and complementary medicine (TCM) practitioners are needed to ensure they are safe for people who seek such treatment.
Former Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) president Professor Datuk Dr N.K.S. Tharmaseelan said the Health Ministry should allow only practitioners who had undergone accredited training.
“Doctors undergo five years of training at accredited medical colleges and undergo four years of training at public hospitals before being allowed to go into private practice. I hope for the same stringent accreditation standards be applied to TCM practitioners.
“Medical colleges are accred- ited and required to have a min- imal entry qualification crite- ria. They are monitored stringently by the Malaysian Medical Council and Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA).
“Similarly, any TCM training (institute) should have a (minimal) qualifying entry requirements,” he told the New Straits Times.
In an report by the New Sunday Times, the Health Ministry revealed that it recently established the Traditional and Complementary Medicine Council to regulate such practices to protect public safety and health.
It is identifying practices that will either be “legalised” or “criminalised” under a law that governs the council.
Dr Tharmaseelan said there was a need to weed out unqualified practitioners and prohibit practices that were not evidencebased.
“Practices such as using leeches will need to be banned. Not all herbs are safe. This also depends on the amount and type of herb as they may be subjected to pesticides and genetic modification.
“Thus checks are required at the source level,” he added.
Dr Tharmaseelan said trained TCM practitioners must be included in the enforcement team in the ministry that is empowered to check on such practitioners to ensure better enforcement.
In ensuring the public received genuine medicines and treatments, he said checks must be carried out on medications and drugs used by TCM practitioners to ensure they are safe prior to registration and approval for public consumption.
“Most of the TCM ‘medicines’ are imported. Thorough tests must be carried out to ensure their safety,” he said, adding there was a need to distinguish TCM practitioners.
Professor Datuk Dr N.K.S. Tharmaseelan