WHO has launched a global plan to make the use of traditional medicine safer, more accessible, and sustainable. Up to 80% of people in developing countries use traditional, complementary or alternative medicine (TM/CAM) as part of primary health care, and its use is increasing in the north. The global market for traditional therapies is US$ 60 billion and growing. This trend brings with it the risk of making some traditional therapies unaffordable to those who now depend on them. The plan points out the need for policies to protect indigenous and traditional knowledge, and for ways to ensure the safety of therapies and prevent their misuse.
The WHO strategy aims to assist countries to build policies for the evaluation and regulation of TM/CAM products and practices; strengthen the evidence base for the safety, efficacy and quality of these products and practices; ensure their availability and affordability; and promote their sound use by providers and consumers.
"Traditional or complementary medicine is the victim of both uncritical enthusiasts and uninformed sceptics," explained Dr Yasuhiro Suzuki, WHO Executive Director for Health Technology and Pharmaceuticals. …