One initiative to put an end to unsafe herbal medicines in Vietnam

Hanoi, 28 October 2016 – The BioTrade project has recently launched an awareness raising campaign called “BioTrade – Goods from nature. Good for nature”. With such campaign, running until 2020, the project aims to reach 10 million consumers and inform them about BioTrade principles and BioTrade products.
Hanoi, 28.10.2016
The project, funded by European Union with a total budget of 2 million euros, is jointly implemented by HELVETAS Vietnam, National Institute of Medicinal Materials (NIMM) and Center for Rural Economy Development (CRED), during the period between 2016 and 2020.

With the participation of tentatively 12 phytopharmaceutical enterprises, 5,000 farmers, and relevant governmental agencies, the project has developed value chains of medicinal plants in accordance to internationally accepted standards, including Ethical BioTrade. However, it is of utmost importance for the sustainability of these value chains that the consumers, end-users of products made from these medicinal plants, understand and know how to choose BioTrade products over others.

Commenting on the launch, Mr. Cuong Vien, Project Manager stated:
"One of the highlights in this campaign is that BioTrade products will be stamped with a BioTrade logo, making them recognizable for consumers. We hope that by the end of our project, Vietnamese consumers will be able to make informed decisions on which healthcare products they should use to take care of their own health”.

By definition, medicines are supposed to prevent or treat diseases, improve our wellbeing, and enhance our living quality. But looking at the hygiene conditions in which medicinal materials are being transported into Vietnam border every day, one cannot help but wonder whether it really is the case with traditional medicines. A quick fact check shows that 80% of medicinal materials used for herbal medicines are imported, and not all of those materials come with a certificate of origin/quality. This alarming reality is urging for a solution with which people’s health is put back into the core. Solving the problem from its roots, the project "Scaling up Ethical BioTrade Initiatives within phytopharmaceutical sector" is expected to contribute to bringing up Vietnamese phytopharmaceutical sector to international standards.

Right after the launching of the campaign, 5 out of 12 member enterprises signed an agreement with BioTrade project, by which the enterprises will commit to communication activities in order to raise public awareness on certified herbal medicines, prevent regrettable consequences of unsafe traditional medicines. It is still a long way before the ambitious goal can be achieved, but the project is off to a good start.

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  • Signing ceremony