If you’re partial to using herbal remedies to keep you in good health, you may soon find it hard to get served, thanks to new regulations. Is this the best way forward or should we make up our own minds?
There’s a storm brewing in the world of herbal medicines.
If you’re among the one in four who’ve used a herbal remedy in the last two years, you may regard products containing St John’s Wort or echinacea as almost part of the mainstream medicine cabinet.
But under EU law such products will have to be licensed by The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) from May 1.
The regulator will be looking for good scientific evidence that they are high quality and safe. Otherwise, they need to be prescribed by a herbal practitioner on a register being planned by the Health Professions Council.
Critics argue that the licensing is necessary and will make sure ineffective, or even dangerous, products won’t be on the market. Whereas advocates say many people gain a lot from these herbal medicines, and expensive license fees will squeeze small suppliers out of the market.
And there’s further furore about registered practitioners being able to supply unlicensed products, a government decision which some believe amounts to an unwarranted legitimacy on unlicensed products.
Do you think it’s about time herbal medicines had to prove their worth or be taken off the shelves, and what do you think about registered practitioners selling unlicensed products?