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Proof of the pill is in the testing

10 November 2015 - 02:02 By Katharine Child

Consumers continue to buy untested health products because the process to register them is taking a lot longer than planned. The law requiring herbal, homeopathic, Chinese, Ayurvedic and other complementary products to register with the Medicines Control Council came into effect two years ago.It requires manufacturers to show a product is safe and effective or has been used historically to treat ailments.But the council responsible for registering the products says the process is being hamstrung because product developers are submitting incomplete documentation."This leaves the council with no alternative but to ... request the lacking data, which leads to extensive delays in the registration," registrar Joey Gouws said.Miracle Mineral Solution is one of the products whose claims have not been tested. Last week The Times reported that it is being illegally sold by Cape Town parents and online as a "cure" for autistic children. The US Food and Drug Authority has repeatedly warned that the product contains industrial bleach and must not be used as a medicine.The Biosil website, on which MMS is sold, also promotes turmeric as a cancer treatment, and colloidal silver, which the FDA says does nothing to cure diseases and could be harmful.Biosil owner Yvonne Blossom refused to comment on the sale of "natural cancer treatments".Harris Steinman, a doctor and consumer activist, said the law regulating complementary products was not being enforced and products were not being taken off shelves.The president of the Health Products Association, Bruce Dennison, defended herbal companies, saying the registration process was designed to test the safety and effectiveness of pharmaceutical or allopathic medicines rather than natural medicines and, therefore, it couldn't work...

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