Prof Elizabeth Williamson of the Reading School of Pharmacy wants the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) to crack down on manufacturers of herbal medicines who are eluding new European directives by reclassifying their products as food supplements. The move, she tells health minister Andrew Lansley, could be endangering the health of consumers, and especially those taking prescription drugs.
Her letter has fallen into the hands of the Alliance for Natural Health, a group fighting EU directives that restrict health choice. In their letters to Prof Williamson and Mr Lansbury, the ANH's Robert Verkerk and Adam Smith say she has over-stated the problem and the powers of the MHRA. Behind any reticence of the MHRA is the impending review of the EU's herbal directive in the European Court of Justice, the result of an ANH legal challenge, which has so far cost lb100,000.
(Source: ANH website. http://anh-europe.org/news/anh-leaks-exposes-academic-letter-and-responds-openly-on-eu-herb-directive).