Glucosamine, used by millions of consumers across Europe to ease the symptoms of arthritis, has been classified as a drug in two European countries.
The Medicines Agencies in Denmark and Sweden, which had both previously ruled against glucosamine as a dietary supplement, have begun to approve glucosamine formulations registered as over-the-counter medicines (OTCs).
In Sweden, Recip's Glucosine has already made it to store shelves, with additional launches expected to follow in other European countries under the mutual recognition procedure.
In Denmark, Pharma Nord's Glucosamine was the first product to gain OTC approval, although around 10 other applications are being processed.
Source: Nicholas Hall's OTC.newsflash Friday 26th September 2003
ANH is concerned about the medicalisation of supplements, although appreciates that patients in Denmark and Swedenmay be able tobenefit financially as theymay now beable to gain tax relief on these 'medicines'.
However, with many doctors not familiar with the benefits and effectiveness of natural products, are doctors going to be prescribing or recommending such supplements widely?
Medicalisation forces products in to the control of the largest players in the industry, often those with pharmaceutical interests. A drugs regime is extremely onerous and would cause many products to come off the market until such time that the datawere approved by the relevant drug licensing authorities.This process can also substantially increase the prices of natural products making them less accessible to many consumers.