[permaculture] BBC News - New EU regulations on herbal medicines come into force
Lawrence F. London, Jr.
venaurafarm at bellsouth.net
Sat Apr 30 00:19:41 EDT 2011
What many have feared appears to be happening. Now, what kind of pitiful
lamer politico/corporate sycophant weenie does it take to ban echinacea?
TCM and Ayurveda too? Really pitiful creepy jerks. I hope they don't try
this in the USA.
Do not wait, the time is now to prepare for a self sufficient,
independent and self reliant lifestyle. Grow your own medicinal herbs
and food crops. Have at least a year's supply of homegrown foods on hand
at all times.
BBC News - New EU regulations on herbal medicines come into force
29 April 2011 Last updated at 19:44 ET
By Dominic Hughes Health correspondent, BBC News
New European Union rules come into force today banning hundreds of
traditional herbal remedies.
The EU law aims to protect consumers from possible damaging side-effects
of over-the-counter herbal medicines.
For the first time, new regulations will allow only long-established and
quality-controlled medicines to be sold.
But both herbal remedy practitioners and manufacturers fear they could
be forced out of business.
To date, the industry has been covered by the 1968 Medicines Act, drawn
up when only a handful of herbal remedies were available and the number
of herbal practitioners was very small.
But surveys show that around a quarter of all adults in the UK have used
a herbal medicine in the past two years, mostly bought over the counter
in health food shops and pharmacies.
The regulations will cover widely used products such as echinacea, St
John's Wort and valerian, as well as traditional Chinese and Indian
Traditional Herbal Remedy logo Herbal remedies that have been approved
for sale under the new regulations will come with this logo
But safety concerns have focused on the powerful effects of some herbal
remedies, as well as the way they interact with conventional drugs.
For example, St John's Wort can interfere with the contraceptive pill,
while ginkgo and ginseng are known to have a similar effect to the
blood-thinning drug warfarin.
From now on only products that have been assessed by the Medicine and
Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) will be allowed to go on sale.
Manufacturers will have to prove that their products have been made to
strict standards and contain a consistent and clearly marked dose.
And to count as a traditional medicine, products must have been in use
for the past 30 years, including 15 years within the EU.
They will also only be approved for minor ailments like coughs and
colds, muscular aches and pains, or sleep problems.
Remedies already on sale will be allowed to stay on the shelves until
they reach their expiry date.
Free from contamination
Richard Woodfield, head of herbal medicine policy at the MHRA, says so
far there have been 211 applications, of which 105 have been granted
Continue reading the main story
We're very concerned that patients appreciate they must be very
careful when they take these medicines and ideally should talk to their
doctor or pharmacist”
Prof Jayne Lawrence Royal Pharmaceutical Society
"Crucially, this EU directive and the registration scheme puts consumers
in the driving seat so they can identify that a product meets assured
standards on safety, quality and information about safe use.
"Safety speaks for itself, but quality means, are they using the right
part of the plant? Is it free from contamination? Is the claimed shelf
"Product information will include possible side effects and interactions
with other drugs, but above all it must make very clear that it is based
on traditional use."
And that is a key point for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, which
believes the new regime is a step forward in improving safety and quality.
But Prof Jayne Lawrence, chief science adviser to the society, says
there are still some concerns about herbal products.
"They certainly haven't been tested on the same basis as a conventional
medicine and some of these compounds are very potent.
"Patients might not realise that in some cases they should not take
other medicines with them, or if they're going for surgery they should
tell their doctors they are taking these particular medicines because
there may be complications.
"So we're very concerned that patients appreciate they must be very
careful when they take these medicines and, ideally, should talk to
their doctor or pharmacist."
The manufacturers of herbal remedies have had seven years to prepare for
the new rules after the European Directive on Traditional Herbal
Medicinal Products was introduced in 2004.
These regulations apply to over-the-counter sales, which form the bulk
of herbal remedies sold in the UK.
But some manufacturers and herbal practitioners have expressed concern,
arguing the new rules are too onerous for many small producers.
Michael McIntyre, chairman of the European Herbal and Traditional
Medicines Practitioners Association, says there will be a significant
impact on herbal medicine practitioners and their suppliers, but admits
the rules do need bringing up to date.
"Products that go on the market now will definitely do what it says on
the bottle, while we didn't know how good they were in the past.
"But registration is expensive so perhaps there may be fewer products on
the market and a smaller range.
"It's difficult to argue that the market should stay as it is, without
any regulation, but how many businesses will pack up and walk away? I
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