R.A. No. 8423 is the "Traditional and Alternative Medicine Act (TAMA) of 1997".
STATE POLICIES AND OBJECTIVES.
It declares as a policy of the State “to improve the quality and delivery of health care services to the Filipino people through the development of traditional and alternative health care and its integration into the national health care delivery system.” (Sec. 2).
It also adopts as s State policy that “indigenous societies would own their knowledge of traditional medicine” and that “when such knowledge is used by outsiders, the indigenous societies can require the permitted Users to acknowledge its source and can demand a share of any financial return that may come from its authorized commercial use.” (Id.).
The objectives of the law are as follows:
(a) To encourage scientific research on and develop traditional and alternative health care systems that have direct impact on public health care;
(b) To promote and advocate the use of traditional, alternative, preventive, and curative health care modalities that have been proven safe, effective, cost effective and consistent with government standards on medical practice;
(c) To develop and coordinate skills training courses for various forms of traditional and alternative health care modalities;
(d) To formulate standards, guidelines and codes of ethical practice appropriate for the practice of traditional and alternative health care as well as in the manufacture, quality control and marketing of different traditional and alternative health care materials, natural and organic products, for approval and adoption by the appropriate government agencies; .
(e} To formulate policies for the protection of indigenous and natural health resources and technology from unwarranted exploitation, for approval and adoption by the appropriate government agencies;
(f) To formulate policies to strengthen the role of traditional and alternative health care delivery system; and
(g) To promote traditional and alternative health care in international and national conventions, seminars and meetings in coordination with the Department of Tourism, Duty Free Philippines, Incorporated, Philippine Convention and Visitors Corporation and other tourism-related agencies as well as non-government organizations and local government units. (Sec. 3).
"Traditional and alternative health care" is defined as the sum total of knowledge, skills and practices on health care, other than those embodied in biomedicine (i.e., allopathy, western medicine, regular medicine, conventional medicine, mainstream medicine, orthodox medicine, or cosmopolitan medicine), used in the prevention, diagnosis and elimination of physical or mental disorder.” (Sec. 4).
"Traditional medicine" is defined as the sum total of knowledge, skills and practice on health care, not necessarily explicable in the context of modern, scientific philosophical framework, but recognized by the people to help maintain and improve their health towards the wholeness of their being, the community and society, and their interrelations based on culture, history, heritage, and consciousness. (Id.).
"Alternative health care modalities" is defined as the other forms of non-allopathic, occasionally non-indigenous or imported healing methods, though not necessarily practiced for centuries nor handed down from one generation to another. Some alternative health care modalities include reflexology, acupuncture, massage, acupressure, chiropractic, nutritional therapy, and other similar methods. (Id.).
PHILIPPINE INSTITUTE OF TRADITIONAL AND ALTERNATIVE HEALTH CARE
The law created the Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Health Care (PITAHC). A body corporate, the Institute is attached to the Department of Health. (Sec. 5).
The Institute shall have the following powers and functions:
(a) To plan and carry out research and development activities in the areas of traditional and alternative health care and its ultimate integration into the national health care delivery system;
(b) To verify, package and transfer economically viable technologies in the field of traditional and alternative health care, giving emphasis on the social engineering aspects necessary for group endeavor;
(c) To provide the database for policy formulation that will stimulate and sustain production, marketing and consumption of traditional and alternative health care products;
(d) To organize and develop continuing training programs for physicians, nurses, pharmacists, physical therapists, and other professional health workers and students, as well as scientists, research managers and extension workers in the field of traditional and alternative health care;
(e) To formulate policies that would create public awareness through educational activities, conventions, seminars, conferences, and the like by focusing on the promotion of healthy living for preventing diseases, thereby uplifting the health care industry;
(f) To acquire or obtain from any governmental authority whether national or local, foreign or domestic, or from any person, corporation, partnership, association or other entity, such charters, franchises, licenses, rights, privileges, assistance, financial or otherwise, and concessions as are conducive to necessary proper for the attainment of its purposes and objectives;
(g) To receive and acquire from any person and/or government and private entities, whether foreign or domestic, grants, donations and contributions consisting of such properties, real or personal, including funds and valuable effects or things, as may be useful, necessary or proper to carry out its purposes and objectives and administer the same in ,accordance with the terms of such grants, donations and contributions, consistent with its purposes and objectives;
(h) To serve as the coordinating center of a national network of traditional and alternative health care stations located in the different regions of the country;
(i) To formulate a code of ethics and standards for the practice of traditional and alternative health care modalities for approval and adoption by the appropriate professional and government agencies;
(j) To formulate standards and guidelines for the manufacture, marketing and quality control of different traditional and alternative health care materials and products for approval and adoption by the Bureau of Food and Drugs;
(k) To coordinate with other institutions and agencies involved in the research on herbal medicines;
(I) To adopt and use a corporate seal;
(m) To sue and be sued in its corporate name;
(n) To succeed by its corporate name;
(o) To adopt its by laws and promulgate such rules and regulations as may be necessary or proper to implement this Act, and to amend or repeal the same from time to time;
(p) To enter into, make and execute contracts and agreements of any kind or nature;
(q) To borrow, raise or obtain funds, or to enter into any financial or credit arrangement in order to support or carry out its research programs, finance its capital and operating expenses, subject to pertinent laws governing public debts and expenditures;
(r) To invest, purchase or otherwise acquire, own, hold, use, mortgage, pledge, encumber, sell, assign, convey, exchange, or otherwise deal in real and/or personal properties of whatever kind and nature, or any interest therein, including shares of stock, bonds, notes, securities and other evidences of indebtedness of natural or juridical persons, whether domestic or foreign and whether government or private;
(s) To exercise all the powers of a corporation under the General Corporation Law, insofar as such powers are not in violation of the provisions of this Act; and
(t) To exercise such other powers and functions, and perform such other acts as may be necessary, proper or incidental to the attainment of its purposes and objectives. (Sec. 6).
The corporate powers of the Institute shall be exercised, and all its business, activities and properties shall be controlled by a Board of Trustees headed by the Secretary of Health as ex-officio chairman. The permanent representatives of the board shall come from the Department of Science and Technology, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Agriculture, Department of Education, Culture and Sports; and Commission on Higher Education.
One representative each from the following industries/sectors shall sit in the board: one physician who is engaged in the practice of traditional and alternative health care; one member from a duly recognized academe/ research institution engaged in traditional and alternative health care research; one traditional and alternative health care practitioner who is not a physician; one biomedical / allopathic/ western medical practitioner preferably from the Philippine Medical Association; one member from the natural food industry and/or organic food industry; and one member from the environmental sector organization. (Sec. 7).
Government Agency Support and Coordination.
Government Agency Support and Coordination.
The Institute may, for the purpose of its research and development activities, obtain and secure the services of scholars, scientists and technical personnel of any unit of the Department of Health and other agencies of the Philippine Government. The Institute shall also assist, cooperate and coordinate with other government agencies, such as the Bureau of Food and Drugs of the Department of Health and the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology for the implementation of the purposes and objectives of the law. (Sec. 11).
Traditional and Alternative Health Care Advocacy and Research Program.
The Institute shal1 promulgate a nationwide campaign to boost support for the realization of the objectives of this Act. It shall encourage the participation of non-government organizations in traditional and alternative health care and health-related projects. The Institute shall also formulate and implement a research program on the indigenous Philippine traditional health care practices performed by "traditional healers" using scientific research methodologies. (Sec. 12).
Standards for the Manufacture, Marketing and Quality Control of Traditional Medicine.
The Institute, in collaboration with the Bureau of Food and Drugs, shall formulate standards and guidelines for the manufacture, quality control and marketing of different traditional and alternative health care materials and products. (Sec. 13).
Incentives for Manufacturers of Traditional and Alternative Health Care Products.
Manufacturers of traditional and alternative health care products like herbal medicinal plants shall enjoy such exemptions, deductions and other tax incentives as may be provided for under the Omnibus Investment Code, as amended. (Sec. 14).
Traditional and Alternative Health Care Development Fund.
To implement the provisions of the law, it hereby created a Traditional and Alternative Health Care Development Fund which shall be used exclusively for the programs and projects of the Institute, in the amount of Fifty million pesos (P50,000,000.00) for the first year, Seventy-five million pesos (P75,000,000.00) for the second year, and One hundred million pesos (P100,000,000,00) for the third year from the earnings of the Duty Free Philippines: Provided, that not more than fifteen percent (15%) of said fund shall be used for administrative costs of the Institute. (Sec. 15). Thereafter, such amount as may be necessary to fund the continued implementation of this Act shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act. (Id.)