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ABC Educates Brazilians on International Herbal Regulation
ABC Educates Brazilians on International Herbal Regulation

In early July, two staff members of the American Botanical Council (ABC) spent a full day in Brasilia, the Brazilian capital, conducting a presentation and leading a discussion on the future of dietary supplements with key researchers, academics, industry leaders, and staff members of the Brazilian Ministry of Health. The full-day event was part of a week-long visit to Brazil by ABC Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal and Chief Administrative Officer Wayne Silverman, PhD. Both were guests of Laboratório Catarinense S/A, a 60-year-old supplement and pharmaceutical manufacturer in southern Brazil. Blumenthal and Silverman visited the Catarinense facilities in Joinville, the Federal University in the beautiful coastal city of Florianópolis, and São Paulo University. At each of these institutions, Blumenthal and Silverman toured medical research facilities where pharmacological and clinical research is being conducted on the uses of herbal preparations derived from plants growing in the general region as well as chemical fractions derived from some local plants.

Left: After the event for the Ministry of Health and others, ABC Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal signs complementary copies of The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs for participants. Here, he hands the book to Ana Cecilia Bezerra Carvalho, technical consultant of ANVISA. Photo ©2005 ABC.

On July 7 Blumenthal conducted a 3-hour presentation to about 60 participants entitled “O Uso Racional de Fitomedicamentos e a Legislatção de Plantas Medicinais” (in English, “The Rational Use of Phytomedicines and the Regulation of Medicinal Plants in the World.”) The presentation provided an overview of models used to regulate and approve herbal medicine in key industrialized nations around the world, including Australia, Canada, Germany, the European Union, and the United States. The purpose of the presentation was to provide suggestions for shaping the newly re-forming regulatory system of Brazil. Following the presentation, most of the participants engaged in a very lively discussion that focused on those key aspects of regulation in other parts of the world that might work for Brazil.

Left: After his presentation, Mark Blumenthal presents Ms. Alda Coutinho, PhD, adjunct to the department manager of ANVISA, with a copy of The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs so that the book can be ranked for use by companies. Other ABC books are already highly ranked. Photo ©2005 ABC.Right: Brazilian botanical industry leaders (left to right) Peter Andersen of Centroflora Group, event host Ney Osvaldo Silva Filho of Laboratório Catarinense, and researcher Luiz Pianowski, PhD, of Pianowski & Pianowski Consultoria, congratulate Mark Blumenthal for his presentation and facilitation of exchange of ideas. Photo ©2005 ABC.

Numerous staff members from the National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) attended, including the head of this office, Ms. Alda Coutinho, PhD. ANVISA operates with the Brazilian Ministry of Health under a management contract and is responsible for shaping the regulatory system. The mission of ANVISA is “to protect and promote health, ensuring the hygiene and safety of products and services and taking part in developing access to it.” The event was organized by Laboratório Catarinense and hosted by its owner, Ney Silva, and its Director of Science, Luc Raes, MD. Also attending the presentation were renowned researchers in the fields of pharmacology and medicine including Professors Irineu Velasco, MD, PhD, of the São Paulo University School of Medicine; João Calixto, PhD, of the Federal University of Santa Catarina; Luiz Pianowski, PhD; and Manoel Odorico de Moraes, MD, PhD. Other industry leaders in attendance were Peter M. Andersen of Grupo Centroflora (Brazil’s leading herbal extraction company for the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and food industries that uses environmentally sustainable practices) and Fernando Pecoraro of Ybios (a company that manages basic and applied herbal research that ensures sustainability and diversity), among others.

—Wayne Silverman, PhD