Threat to Herbal Medicines lifted Dec03

The European Parliament has today voted to protect the use of traditional herbal medicines in Britain, a right which was at risk under proposals from the European Commission.


Under the original proposals, it was recommended that only remedies that had been safely available in the EU for more than 15 years could be sold. However, in today's vote in Strasbourg, MEPs opted for a special dispensation to be made available for remedies with a proven safety record.


Speaking from Strasbourg, Bashir Khanbhai, Conservative MEP for the East of England and a pharmacist with over 30 years experience, said:


"This is excellent news for constituents across the Eastern Region. The threat to remove herbal remedies from our shelves has been avoided and we can continue to buy and use well known products such as St John's Wort, Echinacea and Rescue Remedy, which have enjoyed a safe history in Britain for years.


He added: "It will now be up to the UK Government to decide on whether products which have been available for less than 15 years in the EU can still be sold"


The proposal also sets standards for medicinal herbs and stipulates the inclusion, on labelling and in packaging leaflets, of simple and clear indications regarding the potential toxicity and possible interactions with food, drinks and other drugs taken simultaneously.