As many of you will probably know, the natural health industry (makers of herbal, homeopathic, Ayurvedic and Chinese medicines, nutritional supplements etc) have been fighting a bruising and often unsuccessful battle with Brussels for some years over the the regulation of natural medicines and what should, and should not, be allowed on the market. Under pressure from the pharmaceutical industry the EU has attempted to regulate natural medicine as if they were drugs which is both completely inappropriate, and places a totally disproportionate financial burden on those making or selling natural medicines. (For much more on this see the Alliance for Natural Health’s website.)
The UK is well known for following the letter of EU law far more closely than many other member states, but for once the government does seem to have taken note of industry’s cries of distress and has invited input from a wide range of industries (not just healthcare) on ‘how the aims of the existing regulation can be fulfilled in the least burdensome way possible’ – what they have called ‘The Red Tape Challenge‘.
Although the ANH is dubious as to how much difference this consultation will really make, it is anxious that the natural health industry should take part in the discussion ‘if for no other reason than to record just how unhappy many people are living in a tightly regulated, nanny state’. They have therefore drawn up a questionnaire to help and encourage suppliers, manufacturers and practitioners to take part. You can reach it, along with a good deal more information about the challenge, via the page on their site devoted to the Red Tape Challenge.
However, if you wish to add your voice – or you know anyone professionally involved in the industry who should be doing so – you only have ten days left to do so as the consultation period covering ‘Medicine; Clinical Trials; Good Laboratory Practice; Blood; Pharmacy; Fees; Traditional Herbal Medicine and Homeopathic Medicines.’ only lasts until April 12th.