A place for traditional herbal remedies in the health care system will be established only if recommendations for their use are based on studies that make them credible and acceptable. Thus, studies with herbal medicines must satisfy the same criteria of efficacy and safety as do the drugs that are products of the modern pharmaceutical industry.
In this context, the consultation drew up a series of guidelines for clinical trials with traditional medicine products used in the treatment of AIDS and AIDS-related diseases.
The consultation also made the following recommendations:
1. This report should be given wide distribution so that the guidelines can be readily and immediately applied in countries where potential remedies may exist.
2. The guidelines should be used as the basis for the development of clinical trials for the evaluation of traditional medicines and natural products.
3. WHO should monitor the impact of the use of the guidelines at the country level to determine any needs for revision.
4. A second consultation should be convened in two years’ time to revise the guidelines on the basis of experience in their use.
5. The WHO Traditional Medicine Programme, together with the WHO Global Programme on AIDS, should jointly identify appropriate institutions in developing countries where clinical evaluation of traditional medicines and natural products for AIDS could be carried out.
6. Other consultations should be convened by the WHO Traditional Medicine Programme, in collaboration with appropriate WHO programmes, to adapt the guidelines for the clinical evaluation of traditional medicines for other primary disease states that are of concern in developing countries, such as malaria and other parasitic diseases.