An oriental medicine factory in the Central Highlands (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – The health sector is seeking to develop domestic medicinal materials to produce drug at home.

According to the Ministry of Health’s medicinal materials institute, Vietnam is home to 3,984 types of medicinal plants, 408 species of medicinal animals and 75 kinds of medicinal minerals.

The country boasts about 322 drug producing facilities, including 20 meeting the World Health Organisation (WHO) standards.

The institute is building some specialised areas to grow medicinal plants in northern provinces such as Bac Giang, Yen Bai, Tuyen Quang, Vinh Phuc and Lao Cai, while providing technical transfer in line with conditions in each locality.

It has put forth projects to help local farmers develop particular medicinal plants such as ginseng (Kon Tum), artichoke (Lai Chau and Lao Cai), purple amomum (Thai Nguyen), moringa (An Giang), araliaceous (Lao Cai and Ha Giang), red multiflorous knotweed (Lao Cai and Ha Giang), codonopsis (Quang Ninh and Thanh Hoa), and crocus (Quang Ninh).

Vice Secretary of the Ha Giang provincial Party Committee and Chairman of the local People’s Committee Nguyen Van Son said the cool weather with high humidity in Ha Giang plateaus are suitable to develop medicinal plants with high economic values.

In Quang Ninh province, growing medicinal plants is bringing a stable income for household businesses and cooperatives.

Despite the advantages, the development of domestic medicinal material in recent years is facing a number of difficulties due to excessive exploitation without paying attention to preserving and protecting medicinal resources.

Many valuable medicinal species are on the brink of extinction. The production of medicinal materials at home is on small scale and unstable, while the management of medicinal materials has yet to receive due attention, resulting in waste and losses.

Given the fact, the institute proposed the Government focus on directing the implementation of the national master plan to develop medicinal materials until 2020 and with a vision towards 2030.

It called on the health sector to improve mechanisms and encourage scientists to make significant contributions to developing medicinal materials.

It is advisable to set up strong and capable centres to develop high-quality medicinal varieties.

Vietnam uses around 60,000 tonnes of medicinal materials on an annual basis, 80-85 percent of which are imported, mainly from China , according to head of the Ministry of Health’s traditional medicine management department Pham Vu Khanh.

The import of medicinal materials without clear origins should be promptly addressed, he said, adding that every week, close to 300-400 tonnes of medicinal materials are imported from China via the Chi Ma border gate in the northern province of Lang Son.-VNA