Short notice though it is, I thought I'd post the following message sent by my mother Tanya to her local (York area) MEP's for Labour, Lib Dem and Green parties along with the responses received so far. It gives us some idea of where each party is heading on the herbal medicine legislation front.
_E-mail sent by Tanya Jane-Patmore to Yorkshire & Humber EU reps for Labour, Lib Dem and Green_
*"Before the elections, can you let me know your view on plant (herbal) medicine. EU is aiming to regulate and thus remove many current choices from us. Britain has a good track record on herbal medicine, with strong self regulation going back a very long time. This may be different from other european countries. But our ability to choose how we get help when unwell may be threatened by this. In my view it is an example of over regulation.
There are many other issues that are important and I care about. But for now knowing whether you support or will vote against this may make the difference as to whether you get my vote or not.
So far she has received two responses, from Labour and Green:
_Response from Labour's Richard Corbett_
Thank you for your email.
What EU countries are trying to do is to see whether we can find a
common set of rules for the common market. If that can be done on
acceptable terms, it would have the advantage of avoiding confusion,
conflicts and companies playing off one country's rules against another.
However the devil is in the detail and the key is to find acceptable
Richard Corbett MEP
Labour Member of the European Parliament for Yorkshire & Humber*
_In contrast, the response from the Green's Eamonn Ward is below and includes a couple of their policies on the matter:_
Thank you for your enquiry.
With just 48 hours to go and a real push to win in this region, we are now struggling for available resources to answer queries in detail. I have found the following policies in this area and also attach our manifesto* [not included here] *for this election.
I would have liked to spend more time researching this but hope that this does answer most of your questions.
Yorkshire & the Humber Green Party European Election Campaign*
HE317 When assessing the degree of control required over the availability of medicines, a balance must be reached between the right of the individual to freedom of choice, and the duty of society to protect the individual from the consequences of unwise choices. We are concerned to protect users from unanticipated adverse effects of novel pharmaceutical compounds, some of which may not be evident until the drug has been in use for many years. The Green Party proposes the founding of a regulatory agency with responsibility for natural medicines, including nutritional supplements, medicinal plants and herbal remedies, essential oils and homeopathic remedies. This agency should be founded on the principles of:
1.Freedom of information and full labelling of ingredients.
2.High standards of safety in production methods.
3.No animal testing.
4.Strong encouragement towards organic production.
5.A ban on GM ingredients.
However when the drugs have been in use for many generations, as with many natural medicines, the need for statutory control is diminished. Measures will therefore be taken to protect the availability of established herbal and homeopathic remedies, subject to basic safeguards.
HE318 Novel compounds will not be introduced into general use unless they can be shown to have significant advantages over existing drugs. Limited list prescribing will be extended across the full range of pharmaceuticals. The direct advertising of prescription only medicines to the medical profession will cease. Information to the medical profession will be the responsibility of medical schools and independent authorities with no vested interest in companies which manufacture or market pharmaceuticals.
HE319 The Green Party recognises the huge profits made by the drug companies out of the NHS. This is often through a form of cartel pricing, and we do not believe it is right that the National Health Service as a public health service should have to pay unfair prices. Therefore we will set up an independent NHS Pharmaceutical Body with power to set the price of drugs provided to the NHS. The Body will be composed of doctors, healthcare professionals, economists, and a legally trained chairperson, which will look at the cost of research and development in drugs and their manufacture, and receive evidence from chemists, the pharmaceutical companies, and other countries' health services. The Body will then decide what is a fair price for a drug which is to be provided to the NHS by the manufacturer, and that will be the price which the NHS will pay for the drug.
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