[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Sunday, 30 October 2005, 01:41 GMT
Stricter rules for herbal drugs
Herbal medicines
Herbal medicines face greater regulation under the directive
Firms which make herbal medicines must now get their products approved by an independent agency after the introduction of a new law.

The EU directive, designed to ensure that people who buy the products will have a guarantee of their quality and safety, came into effect on Sunday.

Until now, the government says, consumers have not known which herbal remedies are of an acceptable standard.

Companies will now have to provide evidence of a new product's safety.

Before new remedies can be registered and sold, information about how they should be used must also be approved.

The government adds that before the directive was introduced, reputable companies following high standards were left at a commercial disadvantage while consumers were potentially at risk from unsafe products.

Access calls

Last month, a report commissioned by the Prince of Wales said that complementary therapies, including herbal medicines, should be given a greater role in the NHS.

The report, by economist Christopher Smallwood, said patients with conditions such as back pain and stress can benefit from some of the therapies.

And back in August, a leading patients' group called for access for all to alternative medicine on the NHS.

The Patients Association called for all GPs to provide patients with the choice of using complementary medicine where it had been proven to work.

Provision is patchy currently with well under a half of family doctors providing some sort of access to alternative therapies.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO



SEE ALSO:

04 Nov 04 |  Health


RELATED BBC LINKS:

RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific