Organisations of traditional and complementary medicine practitioners (PTK) nationwide should work with universities to come up with standard operating procedures.
Health Deputy Minister Dr Hilmi Yahaya said the practitioners should carry out clinical studies on their drugs as practised in modern medicine and not necessarily, rely on the testimony of users to convince the public.
"The drugs, can thus be sold in other countries as alternative medicine because it has been standardised," he told reporters after opening a seminar on Empowering Malay Traditional Medicine 2017 today.
The seminar, organised by the Traditional Malay Medicine Practitioners Association Malaysia, in collaboration with the Cyberjaya University College of Medical Sciences, was attended by over 400 traditional and complementary
medicine practitioners from throughout the country.
Dr Hilmi said Malaysia was among the first countries to introduce the Traditional and Complementary Medicine Act 2016 (Act 775) enforced since Aug 1, 2016, to regulate the practice of, and govern practitioners.
The first PTK council meeting was held on Jan 16, highlighting the importance of regulating the practice based on certain criteria which focused on the aspects of safety, efficacy and quality of treatment and practice.
The traditional practice is currently offered at 14 hospitals in the country, among them Kepala Batas Hospital, Penang; Putrajaya Hospital; and Sultan Ismail Hospital in Johor Bahru.
Dr Hilmi said it involved six types of treatment, namely acupuncture, postpartum treatment, herbal therapy as a side treatment for cancer patients, Malay traditional massage, traditional Indian Shirodhara treatment, as well as
'Terapi Basti Luaran'.
He said studies by the Forest Research Institute Malaysia in 2014 showed there were 4,975 PTK practitioners in the country.
The number is currently estimated to have increased to 6,000.