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June. 2016: The UK public have sensibly decided to get us out of the EU. This vote will not make any short term difference to our herb trade which the EU regulations almost destroyed. UK laws will need to be revised to determine which parts of the EU regulations will need keeping and which not. Doubtless our Civil Servants - especially in the Department of Heath - will want to retain as much as they can. This will clearly take some time but it does put a stop to any new crazy regulations from the EU. As important is hopefully it will put an end to the gravy chain of the so called "expert advisors" making a fortune out of their advisory positions in EU committees.

The herb and allied trades suffered badly under EU regulation. The producers and suppliers mainly consisted of small independent family businesses. They could not afford the huge amounts of money needed to comply with ridiculous EU regulations. The result was they closed down or moved overseas. Some small businesses were threatened by our Medicines agency (MHRA) for breaching EU regulations. Result they shut down in England and moved to Spain or France where the regulations were not enforced. The annoying issue is that the UK Government departments initiated EU regulations whereas other EU countries just ignored them. That is totally opposite to what the EU is supposed to be about which is common trading regulations allowing free trade between member countries.

May 2015: Despite a new Government coming into power this month the threat of regulation remains. Civil Servants laid down plans years ago and will utilize those when politically expedient. A potential problem now is that this new Government can vote through legislation unless other parties oppose it. Since we know that the Medicines Control Agency is desperate to destroy Herbal Medicine, their lobby activities will continue as will the lobby activities of the unrepresentative pro lobby herbalists. Since the leader of that group happens to live in the same constituency as the Prime Minister, watch this space!!

Oct. 2012:
The MHRA are absolutely determined to put all small herbal suppliers out of business. This agency and their staff (who are under the thumb of the pharmaceutical lobby), are now saying that "perceived knowledge" of the activity of a constituent in a formula is sufficient for it to be classified as having medicinal activity and therefore must be submitted for a license application. This is taking EU legislation to the limit, legislation that the EU medicines agency itself admits is flawed, but our MHRA choose to institute it in full. See their statement below.

"Milk Thistle Standardised Extract 100mg Badham Pharmacy

The product fell within both limbs of the definition of a medicinal product. The first limb was satisfied due to the familiarity of the averagely well informed consumer with the current day and long traditional uses of the herb Milk thistle in medicine, and the extensive published information on the herb's uses. Arguments for use of products containing this herb for another purpose would not be tenable. The second limb was satisfied due to the well known and documented pharmacological properties of the herb which has been used to treat a variety of adverse medical conditions, in particular hepatic complaints. Products containing this herb require authorisation before being placed on the UK market. The MHRA takes the view that the erroneous labelling of a herbal medicinal product as a food or dietary supplement is unacceptable and may mislead consumers. Such mislabelling does not alter the correct legal classification".

July 2012: The replacement for the 1968 Medicines Act and its many amendments has been enacted. It is the Human Medicines Regulation Act 2012. As is usual with the senior civil servants, they make sweeping claims about how this act consolidates previous legislation as well as incorporating EU directives. In reality, this act is another nail in the coffin of herbal medicine which is exactly what their masters in the pharmaceutical trades have wanted for years. Even our MPs and Ministers have had the wool pulled over their eyes by the civil servants and the regulation lobbyists.

The vast majority of smaller herb suppliers will be forced out of business due to the requirements for selling them with product licenses. The requirements for submitting chemical and other data on herbs cannot possibly be met by small suppliers. It is all designed to kill this historical aspect of our heath care and increase our reliance on the pharmaceutical drugs that kill thousands each year.

May 2012: A report on the activities of the MHRA in regard to the PIP breast implants issues has just been published. While it clears the MHRA on the quality control issues of the implants, it makes many recommendations as to how they should improve their systems. Many people over many years have accused the MHRA and its predecessor of not being 'fit for purpose'. While this report does not state that, it clearly indicates an organisation that are incompetent and in my opinion need major reforms, or better, their necessary activities such as the control of fake drugs given to agencies better equipped to handle such vital aspects of our health care. While this may not seem relevant to the herb issues, it is because this same agency are hell bent on destroying the UK herb industry, yet are clearly incompetent at managing routine health systems let alone herbal medicine.

March 2012: There was a page on a Government website where you could post comments about the Traditional Herbal Medicines Regulations. It has now been restricted after just 206 comments and emails asking why it has been restricted are ignored. That makes one wonder if all these Government comment sites are just a sop to make it look like they consider what people have to say.

Feb 2011: The Government have announced that "The Health Professions Council (HPC) has now been asked to establish a statutory register for practitioners supplying unlicensed herbal medicines......A formal consultation exercise will take place on specific legislative proposals for establishing the register and proposed reforms of medicines legislation later in 2011".

This announcement is being taken by the pro regulation lobby as meaning statutory regulation is a done deal. It is not and gives more time to those of us opposing the crazy scheme.

The Civil Servants who advise the Minister, have chosen to ignore all opposition to this legislation; ignored the comments of a Judge over the competency of the HPC and ignored the huge question marks over the legality of EU directives in the UK. Instead, a marketing company engaged by the pro lobby, have lobbied MPs and Civil Servants to accepting their arguments. Where the money to pay that company came from is a mystery.

So watch this space, the battle is not lost.

Oct. 2010: The Department of Health have advised "All GPs to recommend patients who are seeking complementary therapies to consult with practitioners who are registered with the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC), where it registers the professional discipline concerned".

There are doubts about the ability of this newly established organisation to administer such a scheme at this stage. It is so new, that only recently have their accounts been lodged with companies house. They had funding of over half a million Pounds from the Dept. of Health with just £19,000 from registration and application fees. Following the closure of the Foundation for Integrated Health, one would think the Dept. of Health would be a bit more cautious where they throw public money. Be nice to know who in the Dept. of Health makes such decisions and based on what?

The Civil Servants in the Medicines division of the Dept of Health continue churning out their so called "consultation documents" which are targeted at further unjustified restrictions on herbal medicine. These consultation documents always go to a huge circulation list of medical and scientific institutions and individuals with little interest in the subject matter, yet the traditional practitioners who will be affected get a few listings and often only to unrepresentative trade associations. Their whole consultation process is a sick joke and these people will simply do what they wanted in the first place and then claim to Ministers that they made "wide consultations".

Nowhere in the proposals on Herbalist regulation are there clear definitions of what will be considered an "herbal practitioner". If the EU definition of a 'medicinal product' is used as a basis, then anyone suggesting another person have a cup of peppermint tea for a stomach upset could be accused of "practising herbal medicine". Such ridiculous scenarios could cover Millions of the population who have used plants in one form or another to treat ailments. It gives the MHRA total freedom to interpret these proposed laws any way they chose, that is contrary to all democratic procedures.

Just prior to Parliament being dissolved, the Health Minister made a statement that "he was minded" to have herbalists registered, but without full statutory regulation. The announcement does not mean anything will go ahead. The big problem is that the Civil Servants who advise the Minister have been led by their noses by the small number of activists within the pro lobby. The primary argument used for regulation is that it will protect the public. IT WILL NOT and there is absolutely no statistical data to support that argument. Even the MHRA cannot produce more than a handful of cases over the last 20 years of harm caused by unregistered herbalists. Instead, what he have, is politicians being manipulated by media hysteria and vested trade interests. Even letters to members of Parliament come back with the same fallacious statements of "protecting the public".

Following the announcement by the previous administration, some pro lobby web sites are claiming that the Minister announced Statutory Regulation. This is a LIE to fool their supporters. You will see that statement on the web site of The Foundation for Integrative Medicine - the charity that has announced its closure following an investigation by the Charity Commission, and whom the driving forces behind Statutory regulation strongly supported.

See also the new page: Government money wasting

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