the health minister of the South American nation of Guyana is becoming concerned about the “growing power and influence of alternative medical practitioners” and is seeking to rein in some of the “more exaggerated claims.” The Guyana Association of Alternative Medicine shares some of those concerns, and official medical institutions have they “uneasy coexistence with this relatively new branch.”

Health Minister Leslie Ramsammy said the time has come not only
to sit down with the subsector and look at it holistically, but
also to draft modern laws to ensure that it operates in the
public’s interest. That is not exactly the case right now.
“Some of the herbalists have invoked a divine right to practice
and heal people. Others have had two weeks’ training or have read
some literature and started to practice, but it is obvious that we
have to do better than that,” he said.

[J]oint teams from the association and the ministry are
working on draft laws to go before parliament. One requirement
would stipulate that herbalists selling medicine must clearly list
the ingredients in much the same way that conventional
pharmaceutical firms are mandated to do.

A framework for self-regulation is also being worked out and a
lobby is emerging from the health faculty of the University of
Guyana to design courses that would properly train and certify
alternative practitioners, mostly to satisfy the anxieties of the

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