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Second World Health Organization consultation on quality control of herbal medicines held in Hong Kong (with photo)

     The World Health Organization (WHO) today (November 17) convened a three-day meeting in Hong Kong to discuss and develop the WHO guidelines on quality control of herbal medicines.

     Supported by the Department of Health (DH), the second WHO consultation on quality control of herbal medicines was organised with a view to finalising the draft WHO guidelines for selecting substances of herbal origin for quality control of herbal medicines and discussing the working draft of another set of WHO guidelines on good processing practices for herbal medicines.

     Addressing the opening session, the Director of Health, Dr Constance Chan, said, "Herbal medicine plays a significant and indispensable role for prevention and treatment of diseases in many countries. While actively promoting the usage and integration of herbal medicine into the mainstream health-care system, health authorities also have concerns over the safety of herbal medicine. In this regard, quality control is absolutely crucial."

     To protect public health and further contribute to the development of Chinese medicine, Dr Chan said that the DH had embarked on the Hong Kong Chinese Materia Medica Standards project since 2002. Through the project's efforts and achievements in the past decade, quality standards for 200 Chinese Materia Medica were established.

     "As the WHO Collaborating Centre for Traditional Medicine, we are happy to share our knowledge and experience on traditional medicine with other countries," Dr Chan remarked.

     The DH's Chinese Medicine Division was designated by the WHO as the Collaborating Centre for Traditional Medicine in 2012. It is the first of its kind in the world to focus on assisting the WHO to formulate policies and strategies as well as setting regulatory standards for traditional medicine.

     Dr Chan expressed her deepest gratitude to the WHO for its leadership and efforts in co-ordinating Member States in formulating guidelines on quality control of herbal medicine.

     More than 30 international experts from the WHO's six regions, namely Africa, the Americas, the Eastern Mediterranean, Europe, Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific, as well as local experts attended the meeting.

Ends/Monday, November 17, 2014
Issued at HKT 12:35


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