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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 December, 2004, 11:48 GMT
More checks on alternative health
Herbal medicines
A new committee will be set up to advise ministers on herbal medicines
Complementary medicine is to be more closely regulated, the government has announced.

Around 900,000 will fund the regulation of homeopathy, aromatherapy and reflexology.

The system will be overseen by the Prince of Wales's Foundation for Integrated Health.

In addition, a new Herbal Medicines Advisory Committee will be set up to provide expert safety and quality advice to ministers.

Thousands of people use complementary healthcare and it's important that patients are confident that these services are provided by qualified and competent practitioners
Lord Warner, Health Minister

It will be set up by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

The government is currently considering proposals for a statutory system of regulation of herbal medicine and acupuncture practitioners.

It is set to publish its response early next year.

The proposals covering the other areas of complementary healthcare will fund voluntary self-regulation schemes.

It is the first time the foundation has been given funding to act as a regulator.

'Progress'

Health Minister, Lord Warner said: "Thousands of people use complementary healthcare and it's important that patients are confident that these services are provided by qualified and competent practitioners."

Michael Fox, Chief Executive of The Prince of Wales's Foundation for Integrated Health said: "We believe that complementary healthcare practitioners should be properly qualified, competent and insured.

"Our programme has achieved much in building the confidence of the complementary and conventional sectors over the past five years.

"We welcome the progress being made towards the introduction of statutory regulation for acupuncture and herbal medicine, and for voluntary self-regulation of other complementary professions."


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