Claiming that new rules requiring the registration of supplement-like products are discriminatory, misinformed and non-transparent, the UK Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture (ATCM) has reportedly indicated that it will challenge the European Union Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive in U.K. courts. Unregistered products may not be sold in retail facilities under the directive, but some will apparently remain available through practitioners. The ban took effect in the United Kingdom on May 1, 2014.
While the directive became active in April 2011, its implementation has varied throughout EU’s member states. The UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) indicated that some 300 products have been approved under the directive’s standards, giving consumers a wide range of products to choose from.
According to a news source, ATCM claims that the sell-through period was ambiguous and that assumptions about shelf-life for the products should have been a matter of 4-5 years rather than 18-24 months. In a statement commenting on ATCM’s putative legal action, the head of the Alliance for Natural Health International said, “The MHRA and Department of Health have now created a very uncertain future for products sold in the UK that are neither eligible for the [directive registration]—that even the European Commission considers not fit for its originally intended purpose—and those that benefited previously from exemption under the now defunct Section 12(2) of the 1968 Medicines Act.” See NutraIngredients.com, April 30, 2014.