While other semi-industrialised countries, like India or Brazil, are pinning considerable hope for their economic futures on their booming generic (unbranded) pharmaceutical industries, a different option is about to be explored in one part of Africa. Tanzania’s National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) recently announced that several unique remedies based on traditional herbal medicines are about to enter the approvals system – and could be in mass production within 6 months.
The Tanzanian programme superficially appears most similar to the ‘phytopharmaceutical’ method of herbal medicine production, which emerged from Germany 50 or more years ago. At this stage, we do not know whether the new Tanzanian herbal remedies are based on purified extracts of herbs, as is the case with phytopharmaceuticals, or on whole-herb material. What we do know is that 11 years of research by NIMR, beginning in 2000, has resulted in a range of ‘modernised’ traditional medicines, all based on indigenous Tanzanian herbs and available in various formulations: from Persican for control of diabetes and cholesterol, to Warburgistat for opportunistic infections in HIV/AIDS patients and TMS 2001 for malaria and fever. (Names may change before the products come to market.)
Via Sepp Hasslberger