Herbal Industry calls for stringent policies on advertising herbal drugs

Dr. Rainier B. Villanueva, Founding President of the Chamber of Herbal Industries of the Philippine discusses the current status of the Philippine Herbal Industry during the second roundtable discussion themed "Philippine Herbal Industry-Standards and Regulatory Settings."

"An even more stringent policy on advertising herbal medicine should be enforced to avoid misinformation which may result to public mistrust against the herbal industry," emphasized Dr. Rainier B. Villanueva, Founding President of the Chamber of Herbal Industries of the Philippines during the second roundtable discussion on "Philippine Herbal Industry-Standards and Regulatory Settings" last March 19, 2012 at the Traders Hotel, Pasay City.

Dr. Villanueva highlighted in his report the role of regulatory agencies in establishing the integrity and effectiveness of herbal

products in the market. "The influence of regulatory agencies such that of the Advertising Standards Council (ASC) cannot be underestimated for it can make or break the reputation of the herbal industry," said Dr. Villanueva.

For instance, the current advertisement of a synthetic drug discredits the benefits of a cheaper herbal medicine. Without presenting any scientific proof, the ad has projected that herbal medicine practice is a bacteria-prone industry. The misleading and unsubstantiated ad threatens to negate years of scientific research of medicinal plants which costs millions of pesos.

What worries Dr. Villanueva is not the direct effect of low sales for the manufacturing industries but its blow to the farmers who rely on these medicinal plants for a living.

"We, traders and processors, can switch to other in-demand business anytime but the growers will have to search for another market or worse, lose their means of livelihood," explained Dr. Villanueva.

To address this, Dr. Villanueva strongly recommended the establishment of standards for advertisement of herbal products and inclusion of technically knowledgeable experts in the ASC Board who will check the validity of mass media campaigns on herbal medicines.


"I am calling the attention of ASC. Be careful. Please don't let this kind of false advertisement ruin a legitimate industry," warned Dr. Villanueva.