"If it has become a phytopharmaceutical, it can be a substitute for chemical drugs, which is certainly better, because it does not have side effects, it is natural," BPOM head Penny Kusumastuti Lukito said at a virtual event, accessed by ANTARA from here on Thursday.
Phytopharmaceuticals are natural medicines that have passed preclinical and clinical trials and have standardized raw materials and finished products so they can serve as substitutes for chemical drugs, she explained.
The BPOM is encouraging the development of more natural medicines as phytopharmaceuticals in a bid to fulfill domestic needs, Lukito said.
"We are currently pursuing more phytopharmaceuticals to be produced. Currently, only about 27 products are categorized as phytopharmaceuticals," she added.
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Efforts to increase phytopharmaceuticals will also support Indonesia's goal of drug independence, she said. Once phytopharmaceuticals replace chemical drugs, Indonesia can minimize its dependence on imports, she added.
"These (phytopharmaceuticals) are made from our own natural ingredients, making us independent, as the substitute for medicinal products made from chemicals," the BPOM head said.
According to Lukito, as a first step, empirical data on these natural medicines is needed. Then, through assistance and facilitation from the BPOM, research, and development of natural medicines can proceed according to the applicable standards, she said.
After the medicines meet the requirements, including preclinical and clinical trials to ensure their safety, efficacy, and quality, BPOM will then evaluate them and issue a permit, she added.
Collaboration and synergy of all stakeholders are needed to realize the improvement of the quality and quantity of natural medicines such as jamu (herbal medicine), standardized herbal medicines (OHT), and phytopharmaceuticals, she said. (
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