Taiwan FDA to tighten medicine regulations by 2018

Unless manufacturers provide scientific proof to back medicinal claims, such assertions will be termed illegal

(By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – In an effort to prevent consumers from being misled into buying products that claim to have “medicinal effects” but are actually just health supplements, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has drafted new regulations.

The new rules which are to be put into force by January 2018 demand that health supplements must be labeled “non-medicine” and must not be promoted as having any medicinal effect.

According to FDA division chief Chou Pei-ju (周珮如), the rules are being set up to stop businesses from selling products such as health supplements as medicines or that claim to have medicinal effects. Such has been a common practice in Taiwan for over a few years.

“Some dietary supplements have been sold as weight control drugs. Also businesses have claimed food products made of vegetable extracts can treat diseases like cancer, such advertisements mislead people," said Chou.

Taiwan currently has more than 400 types of health supplements that are sold in the form of tablets, capsules or powder. Health products such as milk powder, yoghurt etc also sometimes are presented as having health benefits.

Unless the manufacturers or distributors of those products provide scientific proof to back their claims, such assertions will be prohibited and termed illegal, according to Chou.

The rules will be open to the public starting Wednesday to review and comment for a period of 60 days, while any concerns and suggestions can be offered through email or online comments.

Chou also said that the FDA’s website and the National Development Council’s online platform both accept comments from the public.

Once the rules are put into force, those found to be violating the law will be penalized with fines ranging from NT$30,000 (US$995) to NT$150,000, she added.