Herbal Medicine: Regulation

Health written question – answered on 21st March 2007.

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Photo of Stephen O'Brien Stephen O'Brien Shadow Minister (Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what (a) discussions she has had with and (b) representations she has received from (i) the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency and (ii) other relevant public bodies on her plans for the future regulation of herbal practitioners.

Photo of Caroline Flint Caroline Flint Minister of State (Department of Health) (Public Health)

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is an executive agency of the Department. Ministers have had ongoing discussions with them, as with any other part of the Department.

We have received advice from the independent Herbal Medicines Advisory Committee recommending that statutory regulation of the herbal medicine profession be progressed in order to permit effective reform of the arrangements under s12(l) of the Medicines Act 1968 whereby practitioners prepare unlicensed herbal remedies for use in meeting the needs of individual patients.

We have established a working group chaired by Professor Mike Pittilo to look at the practicalities of regulation of acupuncturists, herbal medicine practitioners and traditional Chinese medicine practitioners. We are awaiting the working group's report and in the light of that we will consider next steps for the way forward.

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