Vietnamese companies reject illegal wild species-based ingredients and products

July 22, 2023 | 08:00
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30 traditional medicine, healthcare, and pharmaceutical companies from Vietnam have committed to stamping out illegal wild species ingredients in their manufacturing and sales of traditional medicines (TM).
Vietnamese companies reject illegal wild species-based ingredients and products

The information was revealed at a workshop held on July 21 by TRAFFIC, the Institute of Vietnam Traditional Medicine Remedy Research (VIMPHAR), and Intelligentmedia.

The workshop aimed to increase the knowledge, capacity, and commitment to stop producing or selling products containing illegal wild species ingredients.

The use of wild animals and plants as traditional remedies for medical purposes dates back millennia, and it is still deeply rooted in the Vietnamese social and economic culture. However, modern demand has grown to unsustainable levels, so pharmaceutical firms and practitioners must play a crucial role in cutting out the use of protected species in TMs by looking to more sustainable sources.

Do The Loc, chairman of VIMPHAR said, “VIMPHAR realises its critical leadership role in the fight against the illegal wildlife trade. As a captain of the industry ship, we will guide all parties to not prescribe illegal wildlife products. The association continues to engage with Vietnamese TM and pharmaceutical companies, inspiring more of them to pledge a halt to this practice, and monitoring their use of more sustainable, non-animal alternatives, which will help end the loss of endangered wild species.”

Over the last decade, TRAFFIC has focused on empowering Vietnam’s TM authorities and practitioners to prescribe legal, sustainable, and safe ingredients. For example, guidebooks directing the use of certified, legal, and effective plant-based ingredients have cascaded through the industry.

Nga Thuy Bui, senior programme officer at TRAFFIC said, “We have worked with the TM sector in Vietnam to support its commitment to phase out the use of illegal wild species parts and products. Now, we are also supporting TM and pharmaceutical companies to change their policies and adopt wild species-friendly business practices, as they play a leading role in stopping the consumption of these illegal products.”

According to the National Institute of Medicinal Materials, Vietnam has an abundance of 4,000 certified herbal plants. For instance, Eclipta prostrata is used to treat fevers, Morinda officinalis is used to help reduce the pain of osteoarthritis, and Lactuca indica L. promotes lactation in women.

This rich natural reservoir could potentially meet the demand for medicinal extracts, substances, and components, and be used as certified herbal-based ingredients.

The workshop allowed participants to share their perspectives and discuss specific actions, including educating their staff and consumers about sustainable herbal alternatives.

Nguyen Van Quy, chairman of the Board of Directors and general director of Vietnam Pharmaceutical Chemistry JSC said, “This workshop was a great reminder to increase the company’s social responsibility in protecting biodiversity and wild species. Vietnam Pharmaceutical Chemistry commits to producing and selling non-wild species products. We will start educating our staff and shifting the attitudes and behaviours of multiple stakeholders, including peers, business partners, and customers, to support wild species-free treatments and remedies.”

The event featured a commitment from 10 companies and two institutes to not use illegal wild species products and to integrate wild species-free principles into their company’s internal coaching agenda after the event. They also committed to disseminating behavioural change messaging on using legal, safe, and sustainable TM ingredients via their communication platforms.

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