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Title: Evaluating traditional and complementary medicines: Where do we go from here?
Authors: Lin, Lydia Wenxin 
Ananthakrishnan, Aparna
Teerawattananon, Yot 
Keywords: Clinical effectiveness
Patient safety
Traditional medicine
Treatment efficacy
Issue Date: 1-Jan-2021
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Citation: Lin, Lydia Wenxin, Ananthakrishnan, Aparna, Teerawattananon, Yot (2021-01-01). Evaluating traditional and complementary medicines: Where do we go from here?. International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care : e45. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Rights: Attribution 4.0 International
Abstract: Traditional and complementary medicines are increasingly considered possible options for prevention and symptomatic treatment of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. With renewed attention on these therapies from researchers and policy makers alike, the well-documented challenges of evaluating their safety and efficacy are once again of global concern. Between 2005 and 2018, the World Health Organization conducted a series of surveys, in which 88 percent of responding member states confirmed that their biggest challenge in traditional medicine was the need for technical guidance on research and evaluation. As a first step in pursuing this need, our commentary summarizes thirteen international and regional guidance documents by three broad categories on evaluating safety, efficacy, and product quality for market-based approval and distribution of these treatments. We highlight the paucity of updated international recommendations on these subjects and identify gaps that could inform the current evidence base. All available guidance note the need for evidence surrounding the efficacy of these treatments and practices but are also quick to caution against methodological difficulties in the conduct of such evaluations. Evidence suggests that improved evaluation methods on efficacy and effectiveness are crucial toward expanding future research into establishing the cost-effectiveness of these therapies, in the context of shifting acceptance, interest, and integration of traditional medicines into health systems, and as another step toward Universal Health Coverage. © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press
Source Title: International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care
ISSN: 0266-4623
DOI: 10.1017/s0266462321000179
Rights: Attribution 4.0 International
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