Health News of Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Source: GNA

'Herbal products must undergo clinical trials'

Herbalists must subject their drugs to clinical trials to determine their toxicology status, efficacy, and shelves lives before they could be certified by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) for the market.

Mr Sebastian Mawuli Hotor, a Senior Regulatory Officer of FDA, who was addressing herbalists at a workskop at Koforidua, also said the scientific analysis must also check for chemical composition, wholesomeness and the side effects of the drugs.

Additionally, Mr Hotor said, the current FDA regulations required every herbal practitioner to have a permanent manufacturing centre and an address of that centre that would make it possible for FDA officials to visit and assess the conditions under which the drugs were produced and packaged.

The herbalists, who are members of the Eastern Regional Branch of the Ghana National Association of Traditional Healers (GNATH), however, complained about the cost of the scientific analysis, which is done by a few designated institutions.

They, therefore, appealed to the FDA to consider buying the requisite equipment for the job to render the service to them at affordable rates.

Mr Kingsley Yaw Nkansah, Chairman of the branch, said the country had a lot of herbal preparations that could help save many lives at relatively cheaper costs but the lack of knowledge on what practitioners should do to get them on the market had confined the drugs to their local communities.

However, Mr Nkansah said the association was putting in much resources to train their members to help upgrade their knowledge and also to improve upon the production and packaging of their products to meet national and international standards.

The workshop was attended by 104 members of the association.