This week, ANH-Intl has been ramping up the pressure on the government not to renege on its promise to regulate herbal practitioners by statute. In this, we have been joined by a united group of practitioners, patients, suppliers and citizens reliant on herbal products, together with manufacturers and retailers and those in the UK who value the practice of herbalism and access to herbal medicine. This is an extremely time-sensitive campaign, so it’s important to maintain the pressure on Members of Parliament. Please take action as suggested on our campaign page.

Key campaign developments this week:

  • Read today’s press release for the latest information
  • Dr Rob Verkerk received notification from the UK Prime Minister’s office that his open letter to the Rt Hon David Cameron is ‘currently under consideration’
  • ANH-Intl, the European Herbal & Traditional Medicine Practitioners Association (EHTPA) and a group of associations, representing herbalist practitioners, patients, suppliers and citizens reliant on herbal medicines and products, have come together on this important issue.  A ‘united front’ letter has been sent to Dr Daniel Poulter MP, the UK Under Secretary of State for Health responsible for regulation of health professionals within the Department of Health.  The letter expresses grave concerns, and requests a meeting as a matter of urgency
  • Rob Verkerk, Meleni Aldridge and Adam Smith have been lobbying at Westminster, and have attended meetings with Coalition Members of Parliament.  Many MPs contacted by ANH-Intl have supported past ‘Early Day Motions’ on the regulation of herbalists
  • ANH-Intl are currently preparing text for a new proposed ‘Early Day Motion’ on the prescribing rights of herbalists, access to herbal medicines by large numbers of UK citizens, and regulation of herbalists by statute
  • UK ANH-Intl supporters passionate about herbs and herbal medicine or reliant on their continued access, together with practitioners, suppliers, manufacturers and retailers, have been engaging with the new extended campaign.  We still need you to send flyers and personalised letters to your MPs, and to distribute the campaign link and other campaign information as widely as possible, via every available media.  If you’ve already taken action, thank you, but please help us to maintain the pressure by continuing to get the campaign message out there.

A summary of the main campaign points:

  • A Coalition government promise to regulate herbalists by statute was made by Andrew Lansley on 16th February 2011
  • Two select committees and two public consultations were strongly in favour of developing a scheme for the statutory regulation (SR) of herbalists
  • The existing herbalist’s exemption (now incorporated in Reg 3(6) of The Human Medicines Regulations 2012) does not require any specific qualifications or experience on the part of the prescribing practitioner
  • Inadequately trained practitioners and formulators may – and have – exposed the public to unnecessary risk
  • There is justification for SR both to ensure a higher level of public protection and to ensure improved outcomes from the patient’s perspective
  • Contrary to what has been implied by Lord Taverne and others, the evidence base for herbal medicine is exceedingly good.  The majority of pharmaceuticals owe their origin to plant-based substances
  • The scheme provided for by the EU Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive has so far resulted in 250 herbal products being registered.  These products are for minor ailments only, and for direct use by the consumer without supervision by a practitioner.  They largely exclude herbs linked to the great traditional systems of medicine, such as TCM and Ayurveda, and so may be regarded discriminatory.  Even the European Commission (experience report; COM(2008) 584 final) recognises the scheme as being “not appropriate” for traditional systems of medicine
  • If the herbalist’s exemption is not maintained in UK law and SR does not proceed, hundreds of thousands of citizens will not be able to source herbal medicines from practitioners on which they are reliant
  • Failure to proceed with SR would represent another broken government promise and another long-standing UK law over-ridden by an EU law (EU medicines code, Directive 2001/83/EC, as amended)

Please give a few minutes of your time and take action


ANH-Europe Homepage

ANH SR campaign page