EU Herbal medicines directive discussed in China

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Medicine

Legislation such as the Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive (THMPD) based on western ideas of medicine must be rethought if whole sectors such as Traditional Chinese Medicines (TCMs) are not be wiped from shelves, a delegation to China has heard.

Dr Robert Verkerk and Meleni Aldridge of the Alliance for Natural Health International (ANH-I) visited government authorities, academic and research institutions and enterprise organisations who registered concern at the course being adopted by regulations such as the THMPD.

The THMPD is due to take full effect in March 31, 2011.

The meetings were organised by Professor Mei, the vice chair of the World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies and the Specialty Committee of the Chinese Materia Medica.

Professor Mei said of the visit: “The issue of optimum integration of eastern and western healthcare systems is high on the agenda if healthcare systems are to benefit from medical traditions that have evolved over millennia. I strongly support all actions that work towards achieving this aim. As an east-west integrator, my life's work is devoted to cultivating East-West understanding for a better world. Regulations should be reasonable to engender human progress​.”

Dr Verkerk and Aldridge made presentations criticising the “severe and disproportionate” ​impact of the THMPD on TCMs, and said those with TCM interests in China and Europe, “will seek to forge a reasonable regulatory regime for non-European traditions.”

EU legislation on traditional medicines has not taken into account the complex nature of very long-standing non-European medical systems,” ​Dr Verkerk said. “As a result, it discriminates against the traditional medical systems of both China and the Indian sub-continent, amongst others.

These two systems alone are integral to over one-third of the world’s population. It is vital that amendments to the THMPD are enacted urgently to allow its better adaptation to the diverse range of long-standing traditions for which it was originally designed.​”

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