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Herbs – Supplements or Medicine?

Posted Aug 24 2010 12:00am

… Only if it is the right side of the ‘Directive’

UK Herbal Forum has warned that the European Union may find its pharmacy store shelves filled with illegal herbal products if companies don’t register their products under the Traditional Herbal Products Medicinal Directive (THMPD).

The Directive become law in 2004, giving herbal products making medicinal claims across the EU bloc seven years to register their products by submitting a supporting dossier. With that deadline of April 30, 2011 less than a year away, concern is growing that a swathe of products that may be perfectly legal under national laws will find themselves on the wrong side of the THMPD.

The UK has been the most active member state by far in terms of product registrations, with the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approving 69 products so far out of 152 applications received. None have as yet been rejected. The 69 approvals have featured 27 different herbs from valerian to sage, black cohosh, St John’s Wort and Echinacea. Thirty one applications have been lodged so far in 2010. A list of the latest registrations can be found here .

Registrations are known to have occurred in Germany, the Netherlands and Slovenia but at low numbers. UK Herbal Forum members include the British Herbal Medicine Association, the UK Council for Responsible Nutrition, the European Herbal Practitioners Association, the UK Health Food Manufacturers Association and the Proprietary Association of Great Britain.

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