The Campaignfor the Protection of Herbal Medicine
Why The Petition Is Needed
The call for Statutory Regulation (SR) was started by a small group of herbalists, who have professed that Herbal Medicines are
dangerous and the public need protection through statutory regulation, that such proposals would assure public safety. We have
set up this petition to challenge and oppose the governments current proposals and the new Traditional Medicines Licensing
laws (enacted due to EU Directive) which will radically alter the way Herbal Medicine is practised, and herbs are accessed.
The main threats are as follows:
1. "Report to Ministers from the Department of Health Steering Group on the Statutory Regulation of Practitioners of Acupuncture, Herbal
Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine and other traditional medicine systems practised in the UK (May 2008)". This report suggests that
practitioners of Herbal Medicine should be regulated by the Government to ensure public safety. However the Health Minister stated in late 2007 that "The
Dept of Health has not carried any surveys about deaths and serious harm due to herbal or natural medicines". We can be sure that it would have
carried out such a survey, if there was actually any problem with herbal or natural medicines. Herbal Medicine has an excellent record of safety. This is
supported by the low levels of professional indemnity insurance premiums paid by herbal practitioners compared with those paid by practitioners of other forms
of medicine. We cannot in fact see why the Steering Group's proposals, which in effect say that herbal practitioners are potentially dangerous and that they
must be statutorily regulated, have not already been ruled out, considering what is written in the Dept of Health's document 'Trust, Assurance and Safety - The
Regulation of Health Professionals in the 21st century' (Feb 2007), which says "The Government believes that these professionals should also be subject
to a system of regulation that is proportionate to the risks and benefits entailed". With no risk-analysis having been carried out, it is difficult to see why
the Steering Group's proposals for SR are still even on the table.
2. Changes to Section 12(1) of the 1968 Medicines Act. Currently herbalists have protection to prescribe herbal medicines under this Act. However if the
current proposals for regualtion go ahead only practitioners who sign the statutory register can prescribe herbal medicines. These proposals would make it
illegal for anyone not on the register to provide traditional herbal medicines to another person or call themselves herbalists.This constitutes a protection of
function. If implemented, then practitioners such as aromatherapists, homeopaths and naturopaths etc would not be able to prescribe herbs. For the public,
imagine a situation where it was illegal to treat your own children using herbal medicines you had grown in your own garden, because you were not on the
3. European Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive (THMPD). This directive comes from the EU, now UK law, and comes into full force in
April 2011. It is set to take the place of Section 12(2) of the 1968 Medicines Act. This states that all "over-the-counter" herbal medicines sold in shops must
have a Traditional Medicines License by 2011. This would significantly add to the prices of "over-the-counter" herbal medicines, probably at least doubling
them, as producers are forced to pay the new product licence fees. Traditional Herbal Medicines will be wiped from the shelves due to the expense of
licensing, leaving only the commercially produced, often non-traditional herbal medicines produced by large companies (often pharmaceutical). This is absurd,
as many of these herbs can be sold unlicensed as foods, have been available to purchase for thousands of years and many people have access to herbs
growing freely in gardens and the surrounding countryside.
The powers-that-be have no right to restrict the entitlement of the people of the UK to continue to use herbal medicines in the way that they currently do.
In the UK we have a unique position, different from any other European country, in our freedom of access to both the herbal medicines themselves and the
services of herbal practitioners.
We must not allow the European Union to determine what system of medicine the people of this country are permitted to use.
Please sign the petition which can be found here