Nearly 85% of medicinal materials imported from China

VietNamNet Bridge – Viet Nam’s pharmaceutical industry has consumed about 60,000 tonnes of traditional or herbal medicinal materials, of which between 80 per cent and 85 per cent was imported from China.


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Health workers take care of the herbal medicine garden at the Quang Binh Commune Health Clinic in Thanh Hoa Province. – VNS/Photo Thanh Hai

Participants heard this at a workshop on Sustainable Development of Medicinal Materials in Viet Nam jointly organised by the Nhan Dan (People) Newspaper and the Ministry of Health today in Ha Noi.

The ministry’s Traditional Medicines Department Director Pham Vu Khanh said that every week some 300 tonnes to 400 tonnes of traditional medicinal material was mainly imported from China through the Chi Ma Border gate.

“The import of materials that is not original has been a pressing problem requiring proper measures for the future,” Khanh said.

Khanh said that there are two kinds (forms) of Chinese materials: agricultural products, and materials planted and harvested naturally following standard regulations. Most of the imported materials from China were agricultural products that were not qualified to produce traditional medicine.

“That would impact much of the safety standards of medicinal materials and the development of the traditional medicine industry in Viet Nam,” Khanh said.

The director said that there are several shortcomings in the management of imported medicinal materials, especially at border gates. Authorities could only check quantity and weight but not quality of imported materials.

At the event, experts said this is because of the shortage of capital investment for developing herbal materials and building relevant regulations. The management of traditional medicine production and trading currently has been based on western medicine regulations. The country’s traditional medicine testing system needs to improve its quality as well.

They said that the country should have priority policies to support local traditional medicine producers and minimise the import of materials that can be locally planted in the country in an effort to promote local producers and products.

The health ministry said that 10 local importers were granted licences to import medicinal materials from seven exporters in China from March to date. Viet Nam currently has 4,000 plant species that are used for traditional medicines. It is estimated that about 5,000 tonnes of medicinal materials are planted and harvested locally in the country annually.

    
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VNS

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