The number of herbal products registered under the Traditional Herbal Registration (THR) scheme has hit the 100 mark, increasing consumer choice for safe herbal products across the UK.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’s (MHRA) THR scheme has been designed so that the public will no longer have to guess at the safety and quality of herbal medicines as there is continuing evidence of low grade, and sometimes dangerous, unlicensed products on the market.
More widespread is the problem of weak or absent product information. Consumers were not informed on whether there would be interactions with other medicines, any known side effects or if the product would be safe to be taken in pregnancy or by children.
MHRA Head of Herbal Medicine Policy, Richard Woodfield, said: “The growth of the THR scheme means that consumers will have access to a wide choice of over-the-counter herbal medicines made to assured standards.
“The current signs are that the market will be lively and competitive. The key difference for consumers is that in future they will be in the driving seat and able to make an informed choice when they wish to use these medicines.”
The scheme takes full effect from 30 April 2011.
The MHRA is the government agency responsible for ensuring that medicines and medical devices work, and are acceptably safe. No product is risk-free. Underpinning all our work lie robust and fact-based judgments to ensure that the benefits to patients and the public justify the risks. We keep watch over medicines and devices, and take any necessary action to protect the public promptly if there is a problem. We encourage everyone—the public and healthcare professionals as well as the industry—to tell us about any problems with a medicine or medical device, so that we can investigate and take any necessary action.