The U.K.’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has warned diabetics that they cannot give up their prescribed medication and rely on the alleged false advertising for an herbal remedy—Vedagrin, also known as Vedanate—sold with the claim “say goodbye to your diabetes medication forever.” “While the patient information leaflet for this unlicensed medicine tells people to seek medical advice before stopping their insulin intake, the advertising claims for this product break advertising regulations for medicines,” said MHRA’s Richard Woodfield. “If these claims are followed they could have dangerous consequences for people with diabetes.”
The Alliance for Natural Health International, an organization founded in 2002 to support the use of herbal products in health care, recently expressed concerns about MHRA’s apparent change in policy as to herbal medicine practitioners. Founder Robert Verkerk composed an open letter to Prime Minister David Cameron warning of the “disastrous situation for herbal medicine practitioners, their suppliers and—most importantly—the millions of British citizens who rely on these products for their health,” if the regulation allowing herbalists to compound remedies at the request of individual patients is repealed.
Verkerk reportedly responded to MHRA’s action on Vedagrin by noting that herbal food supplements are under threat and that the agency “is working through a long list of complaints about herbal medicines selling as food supplements that it has received mainly from companies who have registered herbs under” a European Union (EU) herbal medicine products directive. He claimed that effective supplements have been delisted under the directive which apparently allows regulators “to classify almost anything as an unlicensed medicine. Effectiveness, it seems, is their main sin, and the reason given for classifying them as medicines,” Verkerk said. “Perhaps anti-inflammatory diets will be next on the MHRA hit list.” See Alliance for Natural Health News Release, May 3, 2013; MHRA Press Release, July 3, 2013; NUTRAingredients.com, July 8, 2013.