Place for tra­di­tional medicine

The Star Malaysia - - Views -

THE Health Min­istry takes note of the con­cerns ex­pressed by Con­cerned Med­i­cal Prac­ti­tioner from Kuala Lumpur in the let­ter “Tra­di­tional, not sci­en­tific” (The Star, Jan 10).

The World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion ac­knowl­edges that there is sig­nif­i­cant and in­creas­ing de­mand for tra­di­tional and com­ple­men­tary medicine (T&CM) prac­tices and prac­ti­tion­ers world­wide. The Health Min­istry of Malaysia has al­ways been aware of the im­por­tance of T&CM in this coun­try from the health­care, eco­nomic and so­cio-cul­tural per­spec­tives. The min­istry ad­vo­cates T&CM as a com­ple­ment to mod­ern medicine and strives to not only make safe and qual­ity T&CM ser­vices ac­ces­si­ble to the pub­lic but is also in­te­grat­ing them into the na­tional health­care sys­tem with the aim of achiev­ing holis­tic health­care for all Malaysians. Reg­is­tra­tion of T&CM phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal prod­ucts by the Na­tional Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal Reg­u­la­tory Agency com­menced in 1992, and in 2004 the Tra­di­tional and Com­ple­men­tary Medicine (T&CM) Divi­sion of the min­istry was set up to look into the reg­u­la­tion of T&CM prac­tices and prac­ti­tion­ers.

The Tra­di­tional and Com­ple­men­tary Medicine (T&CM) Act 2016 (Act 775), which gov­erns T&CM prac­tice and prac­ti­tion­ers in Malaysia, was gazetted on March 10, 2016 and en­forced on Aug 1 of the same year.

Malaysia is one of the very few coun­tries to reg­u­late di­verse prac­tices and prac­ti­tion­ers of T&CM. The en­force­ment of the Act will be con­ducted in phases. At present, the min­istry has em­barked on Phase 1 of the Act’s en­force­ment whereby the T&CM Coun­cil has been formed and is cur­rently mak­ing the nec­es­sary prepa­ra­tions for the en­force­ment of Phase 2, which will in­clude reg­is­tra­tion of T&CM prac­ti­tion­ers as well as dis­ci­plinary pro­ceed­ings. The fi­nal phase will en­tail full en­force­ment of the Act in­clud­ing the sec­tions per­tain­ing to en­force­ment-re­lated ac­tiv­i­ties. There are also at present seven recog­nised T&CM prac­tice ar­eas and six des­ig­nated prac­ti­tioner bod­ies to rep­re­sent these prac­tice ar­eas in the T&CM Coun­cil.

The min­istry is keen for the prac­tice of medicine and health-re­lated pro­fes­sions in this coun­try to be ev­i­dence-based. The min­istry takes note that there has been re­search con­ducted in the field of T&CM, es­pe­cially in the coun­tries of ori­gin of recog­nised prac­tice ar­eas such as Chi­nese medicine, In­dian medicine and chi­ro­prac­tic, to name a few. The min­istry sup­ports en­deav­ours by lo­cal re­searchers from the pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tors to un­der­take fur­ther re­search into T&CM prac­tices and prod­ucts.

While the min­istry strives to reg­u­late a long un­reg­u­lated field, it is also aware that there are ir­re­spon­si­ble in­di­vid­u­als who make un­sub­stan­ti­ated claims re­gard­ing the pro­vi­sion of T&CM ser­vices or who are not qual­i­fied to pro­vide them in the first place.

Sec­tion 3 of the Medicines (Ad­ver­tise­ment & Sale) Act 1956 is very clear on the pro­hi­bi­tion of ad­ver­tise­ments re­lat­ing to cer­tain dis­eases, and the rel­e­vant Sched­ule lists 20 of those dis­eases. This also ap­plies to those who practise T&CM.

Mem­bers of the pub­lic who are aware of, or who sus­pect that fraud­u­lent T&CM ser­vices are be­ing of­fered, can do the pub­lic a great ser­vice by pro­vid­ing the min­istry with rel­e­vant de­tails so that we may carry out the nec­es­sary in­ves­ti­ga­tions. Please con­tact the Tra­di­tional and Com­ple­men­tary Medicine Divi­sion at 03-2698 5077/ 2279 8100 or via email at: [email protected]

Sec­tion 29 of Act 775 stip­u­lates that any ti­tle or ab­bre­vi­a­tion used by a reg­is­tered T&CM prac­ti­tioner should not cause the pub­lic to be­lieve that the prac­ti­tioner is qual­i­fied to practise medicine or surgery or den­tistry as pro­vided for by the leg­is­la­tion gov­ern­ing those pro­fes­sions. The T&CM Coun­cil shall spec­ify a list of pro­hib­ited ti­tles and ab­bre­vi­a­tions which will be pub­lished once the rel­e­vant Sec­tion of Act 775 is en­forced. Hence, ac­tion can be taken on any prac­ti­tioner who reg­is­ters with the T&CM Coun­cil and is found to have used any pro­hib­ited ti­tle or ab­bre­vi­a­tion.

The min­istry wel­comes con­struc­tive feed­back from mem­bers of the pub­lic on mat­ters re­lated to T&CM. Feed­back can be sent to the Tra­di­tional and Com­ple­men­tary Medicine Divi­sion at 03-2698 5077/ 2279 8100 or via email to: [email protected]

In­for­ma­tion about the lat­est devel­op­ments of the en­force­ment of Act 775 may also be ac­cessed at DATUK DR NOOR HISHAM AB­DUL­LAH Di­rec­tor-gen­eral of Health Malaysia

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