Licensing rule threatens many herbal remedies

New licensing rules to improve consumer safety mean that from the first of May, hundreds of traditional and imported remedies available from health food shops and herbalists will vanish from the shelves.

The EU directive aims at protecting users from any damaging side effects, therefore any unlicensed products will be axed and only high quality, long-established and scientifically safe herbal medicines will be sold over the counter.

Many producers of alternative remedies and shops which specialise in the area will suffer a huge blow from the move, and though many are in agreement that labelling should be improved to indicate side-effects, they see the rest of the directive as over the top.

Professor David Colquhoun, professor of pharmacology at University College London, is one of the many who believe the changes are of a fairly limited value as rules did not require makers to provide evidence of whether any newly licensed products were effective.

Other industry professionals and experts have expressed concern that individuals may turn to the internet to track down their favourite herbs, putting them in danger of purchasing a product of low quality or unknown potency.

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Written by Emma Hilton

Written by Emma Hilton

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