Delegates at the workshop on management of herbal materials for traditionaledicine in Hanoi on June 8. (Source: nhandan.com.vn) 
Hanoi (VNA) - The Ministry of Health and the Nhan Dan (People) Newspaper jointly organised a workshop on the management of herbal materials for traditional medicine in Hanoi on June 8.

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’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 Chi Ma border gate in the northern province of Lang Son.

Currently, the management of such imported materials, especially at border gates, is facing numerous difficulties, he said, noting that most the goods have neither proper packaging and label nor certificate of origins.

Furthermore, the development of domestic medicinal plants has yet to receive much attention or investment due to a lack of legal normative documents.

Also, another issue is the loose management in the use of valuable medicinal plants, which are being ineffectively and overly exploited, while no prevention measures are being devised.

Additionally, there is no regulation on price declaration for traditional medicinal products, hence the large gap in bidding prices for those products at hospitals across the country.

Given that, the department of traditional medicine management suggested building policies to support the cultivation and exploitation of medicinal plants.

The health sector should increase the examination of imported medicinal materials into Vietnam and require origin and import licenses.

The health ministry should build and promulgate criteria on processed medicinal plants while promoting the application of biological technology to create high-quality medicinal plant species, modernising the medicinal materials testing systems from central to local levels, and improving infrastructure at traditional medicine hospitals nationwide is important alike.

As of March this year, the department granted licenses to 10 businesses to import medicinal materials from China.
Nearly 4,000 out of the 12,000 flora species in Vietnam could be used in medicine production and have high economic value.

Medicinal plants flourish across the country, primarily in the northern mountainous region, in the western part of central Nghe An and Thanh Hoa provinces, and in the Central Highland provinces of Kon Tum and Lam Dong.

The output of Vietnamese medicinal plants is estimated at about 5,000 tonnes annually.-VNA