[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
“Start Quote

     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 
life suitable?

"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.
Too onerous?

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 
can't say."

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