Putting aside the health concerns
that could put patients at risk, the European Government has decided to proceed
with the statutory registration for all practitioners of acupuncture, herbal
medicine and traditional Chinese medicine.
The earlier law which was due to
effect from April this year would have made it illegal for practitioners to
supply unlicensed herbal medicines. Despite concerns raised by several doctors
that it would lend credibility to therapies which could pose health risks, the
government has decided to go ahead with this move.
This decision will let health food
shops to continue supplying pills and supplements which were initially due to
be taken off the rack by April end. Horny goat weed (herbal Viagra), cascara
bark (used as a laxative) and St. John's wort (used to combat depression) are among
the medicines which will escape the ban. Supply of these unlicensed products
will be permitted as long as suppliers register with the Health Professions
Council. The 126 million pound herbal medicine industry said this decision
would offer more choices to the patients.