West indian countries

Representatives from nine countries will receive training on laboratory quality control for traditional and herbal products

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An important step has been taken to improve the capacity of quality control laboratories for traditional and herbal products in the South East Asia region by the Pharmacopoeia Commission for Indian Medicine and Homeopathy (PCIM&H), Ministry of Ayush in collaboration with WHO South East Asia Region (WHO -SEARO). Dr. Raman Mohan Singh, Director, PCIM&H, and other dignitaries, Pramod Kumar Pathak, Special Secretary, Ministry of Ayush, inaugurated a 3-day training session attended by Dr. Kim Sungchol, Regional Advisor-Traditional Medicine, WHO South-East Asia Regional Office. This is the first time in the country that such an exercise has been organised.

This training program welcomes 23 participants from 9 countries (Bhutan, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nepal, Maldives, Timor Leste and Bangladesh) with the aim of providing knowledge on laboratory methodologies and procedures to preserve the quality of traditional and herbal products.

Pramod Kumar Pathak, Special Secretary of the Ministry of Ayush, spoke at the event and said, “According to the report of the Research and Information System Center for Developing Countries, the industry is expected to reach $23.3 billion in 2022. With a growing market, quality issues of herbal materials are also becoming more of a concern due to adulteration. The uniformity of quality control in the laboratory will make it possible to assess the quality of herbs often altered by various physical, chemical and geographical aspects.

Dr Kim Sungchol, Regional Traditional Medicine Advisor, WHO regional office for South-East Asia, said: “WHO-SEARO has successfully organized regional workshops and trainings for other countries. One of the main recommendations made by member countries during these regional workshops was to ensure regulatory capacity, and that is why we are organizing this first training session in collaboration with PCIM&H, Ministry of Ayush.

Standards for unprocessed plant materials and best practices are part of quality control procedures (including agricultural, cultivation, collection, storage, manufacturing, laboratory and clinical, etc.). To ensure safety and efficacy, specific and standardized licensing programs for manufacturing, importing, exporting and marketing should be in place.

Maintaining the good quality, potency and efficacy of herbal medicines is becoming more difficult due to the expanding market. This needs to be improved by creating a network of laboratories capable of controlling the quality of traditional and herbal products. This special program will provide participants with hands-on training in laboratory techniques for quality control of conventional and herbal products, including macroscopy, pharmacognosy microscopy, phytochemistry, microbiology and other instruments/technologies advanced technologies like High Performance Thin Layer Chromatography (HPTLC), Gas Chromatography, etc.

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