Berberine Ban to be Lifted in Singapore
A ban in Singapore will be lifted on Chinese proprietary medicines containing Berberine, an alkaloid that is naturally present in some herbs, including Rhizoma Coptidis and Cortex Phellodendri.
A prohibition on the use of Berberine was implemented 34 years ago due to concerns it could cause severe jaundice and brain damage in infants with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency.
The Health Sciences Authority, a board of the Singapore Ministry of Health, last month announced it will adopt a phased approach to lifting the prohibition following a review by an expert panel that indicates there are no major safety concerns when the substance is used appropriately. Nonetheless, the board recommended Berberine should be avoided in infants, pregnant and breastfeeding women and individuals with a deficiency of G6PD.
Effective January 1, 2013, the use of capsules, oral liquid preparations, powders and granules containing Berberine will be permitted to be used by traditional Chinese medicine practitioners.
The Health Sciences Authority noted it will review further lifting of prohibitions on Berberine by 2015 in the absence of major safety issues.
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