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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 97-102

Counterfeit herbal medicine

Pharmacy Department, Oman Medical College, Oman

Correspondence Address:
A R Mullaicharam
Pharmacy Department, Oman medical college, Azaiba, Muscat
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2231-0738.84191

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The mass production of fake and substandard medications is growing global problems with deleterious impact on the individuals who ingest them. Estimates of the scale of the global trade in counterfeit medications vary widely. According to the Food and drug administration (FDA), 6%-10% of medicines sold worldwide are counterfeit. The use of herbal remedies, neutraceuticals, and dietary supplements has increased greatly over the past 40 years. Much of the increase in use can be attributed to the common belief that natural ingredients are inherently safer and healthier than synthetic ingredients. Products sold as ''dietary supplements'' are subject to significantly less regulation and are often not required to have safety testing or FDA approval before they enter the market. Without adequate safeguards and quality control mechanisms, there is no assurance that the concentrations of active ingredient are consistent from batch to batch or even that these supplements contain the ingredients they purport to contain. Professional regulation must be open, responsive, and accountable with the emphasis on both the protection of patients and the public rather than being based exclusively on the needs of practitioners. Pharmacists have a responsibility to educate themselves about herbal therapies in order to help patients discern the facts from the fiction, avoid harm, and gain what benefits may be available. Pharmacists must also cope with an environment in which there is relatively little regulation of herbal therapies by FDA.

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