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National Policy on Traditional Medicine and Regulation of Herbal Medicines - Report of a WHO Global Survey
(2005; 168 pages) View the PDF document
Various types of traditional medicine (TM) and medical practices referred to as complementary or alternative medicine (CAM), have been increasingly used in both developing and developed countries. One of the major components of the WHO Traditional Medicine Strategy is to promote the integration of TM and CAM into national health care systems where appropriate. Development of national policy and regulations are an essential indicator of the level of integration of such medicine within a national health care system.
The use of medicinal plants is the most common form of traditional medication worldwide. Regulation of herbal medicines is a key means of ensuring safety, efficacy and quality of herbal medicinal products. WHO has been receiving an increasing number of requests from governments for guidance on how to regulate herbal medicines.
During the last four years, many countries have established, or initiated the process of establishing national regulations regarding herbal medicines. WHO has been conducting a global survey on national policy on traditional medicine and on the regulation of herbal medicines; aiming to:
  • Collect updated and comprehensive information on TM/CAM policies and regulations of herbal medicines
  • Clarify the current situation, in each country, on the TM/CAM national policies and regulation of herbal medicines, and their major challenges on these particular area
  • Identify the specific needs on capacity building for TM/CAM policy development including establishment of regulations of herbal medicines, and the type of direct support WHO should provide to Member States
  • Monitor the impact of the WHO Strategy for Traditional Medicine in relation to present national policy and regulation on TM/CAM/herbal medicines
WHO had received completed survey return from 141 countries. The raw data of the survey results were fed into a database specifically designed for this project, to create basic country profiles. Government clearance has been obtained for each country profile, the manuscript of the draft summary report was finalized in English. The present document provides a summary of the results of the WHO global survey with information from 141 Member States.
The baseline information gathered in the first of its kind, and will be valuable not only to help countries compare and learn each other's experiences in strengthen their current TM/CAM system, but also for guiding WHO on provision of support to Member States.
Table of Contents
View the documentAcknowledgements
View the documentExecutive summary
View the documentAcronyms, abbreviations and definitions
View the documentWHO Regions
Open this folder and view contents1. Introduction
Open this folder and view contents2. National policy on traditional medicine and complementary/alternative medicine
Open this folder and view contents3. The regulatory situation of herbal medicines
Open this folder and view contents4. Member States, WHO and herbal medicines
Open this folder and view contents5. Country summaries
View the documentReferences
View the documentAnnex 1. Text of survey instrument

National Policy on Traditional Medicine and Regulation of Herbal Medicines - Report of a WHO Global Survey

World Health Organization
May 2005

WHO Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data

National policy on traditional medicine and regulation of herbal medicines: Report of a WHO global survey.

1. Medicine, Herbal - standards 2. Medicine, Herbal - legislation 3. Medicine, Traditional 3. Complementary therapies 4. Health policy 5. Legislation, Medical I. World Health Organization

ISBN 92 4 159323 7

(NLM Classification: WB 925)

© World Health Organization 2005

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