New Malaysia data: Health supplements registered on the rise while natural products hit five-year low

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

The number of health supplements registered in Malaysia has increased, while that of natural products, including herbal remedies, has hit five-year low last year. ©Getty Images
The number of health supplements registered in Malaysia has increased, while that of natural products, including herbal remedies, has hit five-year low last year. ©Getty Images

Related tags Malaysia Statistics Report

The number of health supplements registered in Malaysia has been on the rise in recent years, but those classed as natural products, which consist of herbal remedies, has hit five-year low, according to a report released by the country’s health ministry.

Last year, out of the 584 applications received for health supplement product registration, 451 were successfully registered.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the number of registered health supplements has increased from 424 in year 2020 to 438 in year 2021.

Prior to the pandemic, 315 and 322 products were registered in year 2018 and 2019 respectively.

The National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) under the Ministry of Health revealed the above in their annual report​ published on May 19.

The NPRA announces the list of approved products monthly. Examples of health supplements approved last year include a range of selenium, ubiquinol, vitamin D3 products successfully registered in December by Danish firm Pharma Nord, and pharmacy chain Guardian’s house brand’s products registered in October.

In contrast, the number of registered natural products, which comprise of traditional medicine, herbal remedies, ready herb products, and homeopathic medicine, has seen a decline.

Last year, out of the 695 natural products application received, 615 were successfully registered – the lowest in the past five years.

The number of registered natural products was 627 in year 2021, 734 in year 2020, 679 in year 2019, and 738 in year 2018.

Nonetheless, out of the five product categories that require to undergo registration with the NPRA, natural products had the largest number of successful registration last year.

This is followed by health supplements, prescription products (269), veterinary products (47), and non-prescription products (37).

Quality monitory activity

With more health supplements registered, the number of supplements taken for quality monitoring had also increased correspondingly.

Last year, 273 health supplements were monitored, up from 169 in year 2021 and 211 in year 2020.

As for natural products, 918 were monitored, up from 951 in year 2021.

Complaints received

On the other hand, the number of complaints that NPRA had received relating to health supplements was 24 last year, up from 19 in year 2021, but lower than 31 reported in year 2020.

Before COVID-19, the number of complaints received was 14 and seven in year 2019 and 2018 respectively.

As for natural products, the number of complaints received last year was 13, higher than nine reported in 2021, but lower than 18 reported in year 2020.

Before COVID-19, 17 complaints were received in year 2019 and 15 in year 2018.

Overall, most of the complaints received last year were related to prescription products at 720 cases, followed by non-prescription products at 164 and cosmetics at 120. 

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