The woman bringing Vietnamese medicines to the world market


Over the past time, along with many Vietnamese brands reaching the world market, few people know that, an herbal product extracted from Crinum latifolium L. which has been studied with great pains for nearly 20 years by Dr.-Pharmacist Nguyen Thi Ngoc Tram has also penetrated the U.S. market.

Made in heaven

Luckily met Dr.Sc. Nguyen Thi Ngoc Tram once on her business trip in Hanoi, although she has settled in Saigon for many years, the character of gentleness, determination of the Northern woman still exists in each and every words and actions of this ambitious scientist.

Already at the age of “seventies” which should have taken rest and gathered with offsprings, but she said still cannot take a break, as long as being strong and healthy for research, she will still devote all of her mental and financial power to the country’s pharmaceutical industry.

Sharing about the natural reason bringing her to scientific research, Dr.-Pharmacist Nguyen Thi Ngoc Tram said she was luckily born in a family with tradition of academic excellence, especially the person having the biggest impact on her life and career is her father who she always worships and respects Prof. Dr. Sc. Nguyen Van Truong, a labor hero, former Editor-in-chief of the first Vietnamese Encyclopedia.

“For me, until now my father’s words are still always a lodestar for me to strive and constantly do my utmost to move forward. My father is also the person who shaped the future path and led me to love science, he is the source of strength, belief for me to overcome all difficulties on the way to realize my dream, aspiration of my life which is relentless dedication and research” - Dr. Nguyen Thi Ngoc Tram said.

Nearly 20 years of research, Dr.-Pharmacist Nguyen Thi Ngoc Tram has brought Crinum latifolium L. herbal medicines to reach the “big sea”

With Dr. Tram, path to scientific research is an arduous road full of challenges, not everyone can go to the end of the passion path without enthusiasm and sacrifice. Especially with Dr. Tram, the path to science is not a passion but also a destiny which has tied her life to science and medicinal herbs right at the time she was born.

“I graduated from pharmaceutical industry, Hanoi University of Pharmacy in 1972, but the turning point of my life really started in 1985 when I came to Bulgaria to do research. During years of study and doing research abroad, I discovered that Vietnam is not only a country rich in national tradition but people are also endowed with natural resources. If we work hard to explore and study, we can make every flower, every wild plant in our country into a therapeutic drug and can bring Vietnamese herbal medicines to the world market. That thinking was also a motivation for me to return homeland and devote to the country after excellent completion of my Ph.D. thesis in Bulgaria” - Dr. Tram recalled.

Bringing Vietnamese medicinal herbs to the world

With the desire to discover a medicinal herb, along with the thirst for research and formulation of medicines reaching international level that inspired Dr. Nguyen Thi Ngoc Tram to constant searching since her return to homeland. Her efforts deserved, in 1990, after accidentally being told and contacted with an herbal plant called Crinum latifolium L. along with anecdotes about this herb, Dr. Tram tirelessly studied and put full belief in this medicinal herb, after the results of study and screening Crinum latifolium L. was shown to have biological effects that inhibit the growth of malignant and benign tumor cells.

After a 15-year period of research, along with cooperation of many scientists at home and abroad, Dr.-Pharmacist Nguyen Thi Ngoc Tram has extracted and formulated successfully Crila capsule (100% extracted from Crinum latifolium L.), after clinical trials in the hospitals such as: National Hospital of Traditional Medicine, Central Obstetrics Hospital, Tu Du Hospital, etc. its treatment efficacy is 89.18% for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and 79.5% for uterine fibroids.

Dr.-Pharmacist Nguyen Thi Ngoc Tram was honorably awarded the State Award for scientific research on Crinum latifolium L.

By July 2005, Crila capsule was officially accepted for nationwide circulation by Drug Administration - Ministry of Health and granted Utility Solution Patent by the Intellectual Property Department (Ministry of Science and Technology). In 2007, Dr. Tram won Kovalevskaia prize (a prestigious and noble prize for female scientists who have made outstanding achievements in research and application to practical life bringing numerous benefits in economic - social and cultural sectors). In 2010, Crila was honored with the State Award on Science and Technology. This is the first herbal capsule in the world formulated from Vietnamese medicinal herb for treatment of uterine fibroids and is one of three medicines for treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) with high treatment efficacy, being used by patients with their great belief in domestic and foreign pharmaceutical market.

Especially, after technological innovation, increase in shelf life of medicines, removal of impurities, etc. Crila forte® produced from Vietnamese Crinum latifolium L. herb, has been exported to the U.S. market through Crinum Health Company, bringing Vietnamese medicinal products to enter in the international pharmaceutical market, creating specific therapeutic medicinal products bearing Vietnamese brand. This is the impetus for scientists to continue participating in research to produce new medicinal herbal products from natural materials in Vietnam.

For such achievement as it is today, according to Dr. Tram, in the most difficult time her father was always at her side to share with her, her husband replaced her to take care of the family and educated their children. There was also the sharing hardship of her colleagues and especially the help of the Ministry of Science and Technology for her to conduct research, cooperation under her limited financial resource, etc.

“I had to sell the house to get fund for research, finally Crila (extracted from Crinum latifolium L.) has been exported to the U.S. market and recognized worldwide. Especially the model of clean herbal material plantation has been expanded and invested for development in Long Thanh (Dong Nai). This is a proof for indefatigable efforts of me and my colleagues in successful study of the effects of Crinum latifolium L. in particular, as well as other valuable medicinal plants in Vietnam, so that Vietnamese people can have opportunity to reach Vietnamese medicinal products of international standard in their own country” - Dr. Tram said.

Dat Do - Thu Trang