A cross-party delegation of seven Members of Parliament (MPs), led by Austin Mitchell (Labor—Great Grimsby), has entered an "early day" motion to support the position taken by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in litigation filed by the European arm of a China-based pharmaceutical company seeking to stop the recognition of glucosamine as both a food and a medicine. According to the motion, the MPs support "the Agency’s defense of its position against a challenge by one company that seeks to have all glucosamine products designated as medicines so driving up prices, reducing consumer choice and limiting the way in which the benefits of such products may be promoted." The November 7, 2013, motion also "encourages Consumers for Health Choice to keep up its campaign to defend consumer choice in natural health products."
Filed by BlueBio (Yantai) Pharmaceuticals before the United Kingdom’s (UK’s) High Court, the litigation is reportedly raising concerns throughout the European Union (EU), given the potential obstacle to the free movement of goods across borders posed by differing product classifications. The company apparently holds a prescription-only medicines registration throughout the EU’s 28 member states for Dolenio®, a glucosamine sulphate product. MHRA reportedly makes its determinations on a case-by-case basis and supports the supplement’s dual status. The agency has the support of the UK Health Food Manufacturers’ Association, which, as an "interested party," has made a submission to the court detailing why glucosamine should be deemed a food supplement as well as a medicine. According to a news source, the case will likely be heard in the first half of 2014. See Nutraingredients.com, November 13, 2013.