Page last updated at 12:59 GMT, Tuesday, 6 May 2008 13:59 UK

Firm 'misled' over malaria drug

Mosquito
Malaria is spread by mosquitoes

Cosmetics chain Neal's Yard has dropped the sale of a homeopathic drug after watchdogs said customers were being misled that it could treat malaria.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said the product was "clearly intended to be viewed as a treatment or preventive".

Neal's yard accepted that there was no clinical proof that Malaria Officinalis 30c worked.

The move follows a BBC Inside Out investigation in Devon.

We regard the promotion of an unauthorised, self-medicating product for such a serious condition to be potentially harmful to public health and misleading
MHRA
All homeopathic remedies are classed as medicines and require prior authorisation by the MHRA, but Malaria Officinalis 30c has none.

The presenter of Inside Out South West, Janine Jansen, was sold the homeopathic remedy by Neal's Yard in Exeter and was advised that she could use it to help deal with malaria.

David Carter, head of the borderline team at the MHRA, said: "This product was clearly intended to be viewed as a treatment or preventive for malaria, which is a serious and potentially life-threatening disease.

"We regard the promotion of an unauthorised, self-medicating product for such a serious condition to be potentially harmful to public health and misleading."

Neal's' Yard said in a statement: "We know there have been no clinical trials for the use of homeopathy in the prevention of malaria but homeopathy does have a good track record in preventing and treating other epidemic diseases."

It added that the firm's medicines director Susan Curtis, who was interviewed by Inside Out, had said that there was no absolute guarantee that you will not get malaria with any treatment and that the most important factor is to take measures to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes.

"We do not advertise or sell the remedy as a prevention for malaria.

"It is supplied on request by practitioners working in Neal's Yard Remedies stores and in fact the practitioners have been trained to always explain that the remedy should not be considered as a guarantee of prevention of malaria."

Malaria, which is most common on Sub-Saharan Africa, is spread by mosquitoes.




SEE ALSO
Malaria advice 'risks lives'
13 Jul 06 |  Newsnight
Malaria row inspired homeopathy
10 Apr 05 |  Health

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