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Last Updated: Sunday, 24 February 2008, 05:21 GMT
No clinical trials for SA healers
Manto Tshabalala-Msimang
The minister wants to guard against being bogged down by clinical trials
South Africa's outspoken health minister has said medicines used by traditional healers should not be subject to clinical trials.

Manto Tshabalala-Msimang warned against using what she called Western protocols for research and development.

Medicines used for thousands of years should not become "bogged down in clinical trials", she said.

She was speaking during a meeting with traditional healers to discuss a draft policy to regulate the practice.

"We cannot use Western models of protocols for research and development," said the minister, although she added that she was not against clinical trials per se.

The healers complain that the South African government has been too slow in implementing a law passed in 2005 aimed at integrating traditional medicine into the mainstream health system.

Ms Tshabalala-Msimang has faced criticism in the past for suggesting garlic and vegetables be used to combat the spread of HIV.

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