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UK MHRA set to end all sale of unlicensed herbal medicines


The UK regulator has asked for public consultation on a proposal to end the sale of unlicensed herbal medicines already on the market in April 2011, after which time these products needed a license under the 2004 European herbal medicines directive.

The Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority (MHRA) updated guidelines in August 2010 to say that any unlicensed herbal medicines still on the market in April 2011 would not have to be recalled, as it considered that "there could have been a significant adverse impact on businesses and disruption within the herbal sector."


However, the MHRA on Tuesday proposed to end this so-called "sell through" by the end of the year as companies have had an extensive time period to prepare and adapt to the new licensing measures. Over 300 products covering over 100 herbs have now been licensed under the new scheme.


The MHRA added in the proposal that unlicensed products still on the market have been consistently linked with poor standards of quality that can potentially damage public health and some have potentially dangerous side effects and can interact with other medicines.


The proposal is open to consultation until 6 September, with a view to ending "sell through" by the end of December.

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