x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Herbal remedies face tougher regulations

Products may be classified according to their risk level as Ministry of Health creates task force.

ABU DHABI // The Ministry of Health has created a task force to draft new licensing requirements for herbal medicines. A ministry statement said it was one of a number of steps taken to tighten up regulation of this area. Others included the establishment of a technical committee to classify herbal products according to risk level.

The measures cover all herbal products sold in supermarkets, pharmacies and local stores. Dr Amin al Amiri, the chief executive of the ministry's medical practice and licensing department, said the MoH would draw up a comprehensive list, to be revised quarterly, of herbal products allowed to be sold in supermarkets. "The list will be available on the Ministry of Health's website and should be sent out to concerned authorities via e-mail."

At a meeting of the higher committee for licensing and registration, he also disclosed that the ministry had recently temporarily closed a number of pharmacies and medical warehouses because of infractions of the 1983 federal law on pharmacies. It was not clear what the violations were, but he said all pharmacies had been told they must have a licensed pharmacist on the premises at all times. "This comes as part of a campaign to apply the ethics of the medical profession," Dr al Amiri said.

He said the pharmacies and warehouses had been closed down for 60 days while they made the "necessary adjustments" and removed any violations. They would be inspected again once the 60 days had passed. Dr al Amiri also held a meeting with the Dubai Police to discuss medical education and community partnerships, a statement from the ministry said. One of the aims was to build co-operation between the department of sports activities at the Dubai Police, and to "promote a healthy society through the organisation of events, activities and symposiums that encourage physical activity".

The statement did not clarify specific aspects of the partnership. munderwood@thenational.ae hkhalaf@thenational.ae