If nothing changes, in April 2011 many of the natural herbs and supplements used by many thousands of people in the UK will become illegal under European law.
Mayway, one of the largest UK suppliers if Chinese herbal medicines, says this:
“European Traditional Herbal Medicine Directive in April 2011 will see the end of practitioners prescribing herbal medicines made by manufacturers and herbal suppliers for prescription to individual patients. This includes all finished products such as medicinal herbal pills, tablets, capsules, dried herb mixtures and medicinal herbal ointments made up for individual patients by third-party suppliers.
Also under threat are third-party herbal prescription services that supply individualised herbal prescriptions (including those comprising tinctures and dried herbs) to named patients at the practitioner’s request. Over the past 40 years this mode of supply has become an essential part of herbal practice in the UK and many practitioners are totally reliant on such services. All that will remain will be herbal medicines prepared by practitioners from their own premises.
Thus without statutory regulation, from April 2011, many patients will be unable to obtain their usual medicines. The loss of this facility will put many practitioners and several of their suppliers out of business. This will further damage the UK economy and swell unemployment during the current economic downturn.”
One of the problems in the UK is that there is no system for regulating herbal medicine practitioners. This is vital because the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulation Agency) has proposed that third-party medicines supplied on request of statutorily regulated practitioners for individual patients CAN continue under MHRA licence via Section 5.1 of the main European Medicines Act 2001/83/EC1. The key point here is that this facility is only available to statutory regulated health professionals.
In short, if herbal practitioners were to secure ‘authorized health care professional’ status through statutory regulation, they could legally commission herbal medicines from manufacturers for supply to their patients. These would be made to assured medicinal quality.
To find out more, visit these websites:
Joining Hands In Health Campaign & Petition
Mayway Website (includes sample letter layout to send to MPs)
Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine (also has template letters)