EU red tape threatens to strangle alternative medicine


Merton’s herbal practitioners fear for their businesses and patients as EU regualtions loom


By Will O’Doherty, Leah Roach and Alice Sinclair

Merton’s herbal practitioners fear their businesses and patients’ health are threatened by EU red tape.

The European Directive on Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products comes into force in April 2011 to prevent the circulation of bogus medicines, stating all herbal medicines must be registered.

The fee for each registration could mean small businesses have to downsize, reducing their range of medicines, affecting customers, shop owners and practitioners.

Richard Collisson of Wimbledon’s Health Zone said: “We don’t know how businesses like this will survive because of these regulations.”

He added that those requiring rarer medicines could find they are no longer stocked.

The regulations will also outlaw the use of remedies not prepared in clinics

Suzie Marshall-Manifold at the Wimbledon Clinic of Natural Medicine said: “Our remedies are prepared at a veritable company where our herbs are verified and the conditions are regulated.”

“If the regulations go through they won’t be able to supply us anymore and we’ll have to make them here.

“It’s fine for us as we can designate a room to it, but so many clinics don’t have the space to do it correctly, which could affect the medicine’s quality.”

Nial Marshall-Manifold, the clinic’s chiropractor, said: “It’s the patients who will ultimately suffer.”

Practitioners and stockists are campaigning for their industry to be regulated, as it will put them on the same footing as GPs, who can use pre-prepared medicines.

At the moment, lack of regulation means complementary medicine can be practiced by anyone, regardless of qualifications or even experience.

Michael McIntyre, Chairman of the European Herbal Practitioners Association, said: “It is important that the public know the people they are going to see are properly trained and accountable, and that’s what regulation will do.”

Related Articles