European Commission reneges on assistance to European herbal practitioners

Posted on 25 grudnia 2010. Filed under: ANH, ANH fight for true, Izrael, kodeks żywnościowy | Tagi: , , |


Pressure from European Union (EU) citizens forced a recent meeting between Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and the European Commission (EC) to discuss the impact of the EC’s directive on herbal medicines which will be fully implemented EU-wide as of 1 May 2011. Unfortunately, the meeting, held at the European Parliament on the 29th November 2010, showed how unwilling the EC is to follow through on a pledge it made back in 2008. The pledge was made in the Commission’s report (COM(2008) 584 final) on its first four years of experience with the herbal directive, known as the Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive. In the report, the Commission specifically recognised that the directive was not suitable for holistic traditions, such as Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Crucially, it also indicated it would consider the feasibility of an entirely new regulatory framework for such traditions.

Members of the European Parliament got the opportunity to seek answers on the THMPD from Andrzej Jan Rys, Director of Public Health and Risk Assessment at the Directorate General for Health & Consumer Policy. The meeting was called as a result of concerns voiced through many hundreds of communications sent to MEPs, whose constituents are worried that thousands of herbal products will become illegal from 1 May 2011.

You could well have been one of those people who contacted their MEP about this flawed Directive – and if you were, congratulations on your efforts that are now forcing the European Commission to answer some difficult questions! If we keep up the pressure, we are hoping to force the Commission to reconsider its view. If the Commission refuses to budge, it will have to be answerable to its actions in court.

While it’s great to see there’s life left in the European democratic process, we can’t pretend that we’re not somewhat disheartened to hear the Commission’s response. Green Party MEP, Bas Eickhout, when questioning the Commission over the possibility of an extension of the transition phase and hence a delay to the full implementtion of the Directive, was told simply, and unequivocally, by Mr Rys of the European Commission: “We do not plan any postponement of the deadline”.

In a bid to help the Commission maintain a previously made commitment, Mr Eickhout also asked the European Commission if it was going to consider the feasibility of a new regulatory framework, as alluded to in its experience report of 2008. In response, Mr Rys simply declared that no separate regulatory framework was planned for TCM or Ayurveda, and he did not mention any other traditions.

Mr Eickhout went on to question the Commission over the controversial 30-year rule, which requires that 15 years’ safe usage within the EU is demonstrated out of a total of 30 years, as a means of establishing the safety of traditional medicines under the THMPD. Mr Rys indicated that he understood that the EC was not assessing the 15-year requirement in any way; in fact, the Commission’s priorities were to revise the clinical trials directive and veterinary medicinal product legislation!

It’s worth remembering that the THMPD was never intended as a regulatory framework for practitioners of herbal medicine. The directive clearly states its intent to be a framework for manufactured products sold directly to the end consumer, for minor ailments, without the supervision of a medical practitioner. So what about practitioners? Since August 2008, when the Commission’s experience report was published, practitioners of herbal medicine all over Europe have seen the concluding statement in that report as a ray of light among the regulatory bleakness being foisted upon them. However, without this framework, which has been one of the three main prongs of the joint ANH/Benefyt strategy, that hope has been dashed for the time being.

This recent meeting of MEPs and the European Commission could be likened to a curate’s egg. While it is undoubtedly great news that EU citizens’ voices are being heard on the THMPD, and that serious questions are being asked by MEPs on their behalf, the outcome of the encounter with Mr Rys can be summed up in two words: no change. But change never comes overnight, so keep up the pressure – you are being heard! Persistence is the name of the game.

The Commission’s response also vindicates our decision to go to the courts to achieve a more proportionate, transparent and non-discriminatory legal framework for herbal products within the EU.

If you haven’t already considered donating, please do so now! Thank you, and season’s greetings.

 

ANH-Europe homepage
ANH Nurture Traditional Medicinal Cultures campaign page
ANH THMPD legal challenge page

Updated: 21 Dec 2010

Submitted by Sepp Hasslberger (not verified) on Wed, 22/12/2010 – 11:46.

„It’s worth remembering that the THMPD was never intended as a regulatory framework for practitioners of herbal medicine. The directive clearly states its intent to be a framework for manufactured products sold directly to the end consumer, for minor ailments, without the supervision of a medical practitioner.”

You have the solution to the problem right here. Since the THMPD was not intended as a regulatory framework for herbal practitioners, it will not touch herbal practitioners. It establishes a registration process for over-the-counter herbal medicines. Full stop.

What happens in the world of practitioners is outside the scope of the directive and any national implementation of it.

The Italians have understood this. We have, in Italy, a thriving economy of herbal practitioners and herb shops, called „erboristerie” (that’s plural of erboristeria). Herbalists have a three-year university training, and many of the shopkeepers are trained herbalists. No one expects them to pack up and go home just because the EU made a law to register herbal medicines.

I believe that we are confusing two things here. Herbal traditions including practitioners are very much alive. Herbal medicines as registered products are in trouble. The bar has been set too high, and very few have been registered. But that does not mean we should think that herbal traditions can or will be wiped out by an initiative of the EU bureaucracy to permit registration of herbal medicines under certain conditions.

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Ayurweda zagrożona wytycznymi kodeksu żywnościowego

Posted on 25 grudnia 2010. Filed under: ANH, ANH fight for true, ANH walka o prawdę, kodeks żywnościowy, leczenie ziołami, medycyna alternatywna, medycyna chińska, medycyna mongolska, medycyna naturalna | Tagi: , , , , , |


India recognises risks to Ayurveda from Europe

 

4th World Ayurveda Congress
Venue: Gayathri Vihar, Palace Grounds, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
9-13 December 2010

Around 5,000 practitioners, manufacturers, distributors and interested consumers converged on the Palace Grounds in Bengaluru, India last week.  Progressing the mission of “Ayurveda for All”, the biannual 4th World Ayurveda Congress (4th WAC) hosted an impressive and comprehensive range of keynote and plenary sessions relating to the philosophy of Ayurveda.

While much of the meeting focused on recent progress on the scientific validation and development of Ayurveda, an additional and important strand running through the meeting was the ‘globalisation’ of Ayurveda. This included detailed exploration of both the opportunities and the challenges facing Ayurveda outside its native heartland in the Indian subcontinent. It was in this latter context that ANH-Intl executive and scientific director, Dr Robert Verkerk, was invited to give one of the keynote lectures.


Main Hall, 4th World Ayurveda Congress, Palace Grounds, Bengaluru

Background to Ayurveda

The word Ayurveda is made up from two Sanskrit words—‘ayus’ meaning life and ‘veda’ meaning knowledge or science.  Simply put, Ayurveda can be described as the ‘science or knowledge of life’, which the early scholars understood to comprise the mind, body, senses and soul.  A view which is little changed today.  Professor Savrikar from Podar Medical College in Mumbai agreed that “unless a person is very happy mentally we can’t say he’s healthy”.  Hence it is not simply a traditional system of medicine, but more a complete philosophy for life.  Ayurveda encompasses a wide range of modalities including yoga, meditation, nutrition, detoxification, massage and the use of herb and mineral preparations.  The fundamentals of Ayurveda were laid down in Vedic scripts, the earliest of which, the Rig Veda, dates back 6,000 years and contains a number of ‘prescriptions’ to help overcome various ailments.  The aim of Ayurveda is to promote health and prolong life and in so doing eliminate disease and dysfunction.  The key to success involves focusing more on prevention, rather than cure, and by restoring and maintaining balance of body, mind and spirit.

Sadly in the West this body/mind/spirit balance is poorly understood by government regulators and allopathy in general.  So too are traditional medicinal cultures that are not purely concerned with the treatment and cure of disease.  The result being a situation such as the one in Europe, where this valuable tradition is being ripped apart into its component parts, legislated by different laws and inappropriately judged against the same pharmaceutical standards used for new-to-nature drugs.  Western medicine and pharmaceuticals have been around for a relative split-second in time compared to ancient traditions such as Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

The arrogance and ignorance that appears to be shown by the European Commission and EU Member State regulators is one of the greatest travesties of our time, earning Europe the label “the dark continent for Ayurveda” by Dr Prasad from Himalaya Herbal Healthcare.  To decimate these traditions, to uphold wrongly that there is no scientific basis to their effectiveness and then to deny innovation (i.e. their continued development) is to deprive European citizens of a fundamental and basic right to health and freedom of choice.  Let alone maintain the vast tradition for future generations in Europe, one that is so well established to counter to massive burden of chronic disease which allopathic medicine is barely denting.

In India, where there is exponential growth in the generic pharmaceutical industry, there is still great confidence in the national tradition of Ayurveda.  Faced with 30 million diabetics, 100 million with cardiovascular disease and 30% of children being born of low birth weight, figures set to increase alarmingly by 2030, Ayurveda offers a low-cost, health-for-all solution.  This rapid growth in chronic diseases can be attributed largely to the substitution of traditional diets and lifestyles with western ones. Academics and Ayurvedic physicians are working together to re-instate a sustainable healthcare system that empowers the individual and is affordable for all.  Despite the number of pharma companies lured to India by the promise of cheap labour and reduced overheads, western medicine will never be in a position to offer both a healthcare system and a viable economy for the people.  In contrast, Ayurveda is not just a disease management system, but a way of life that promotes health, empowers the mind and spirit and, through herbal cultivation, offers financial sustainability too.

Despite gilding the bitter European regulatory lily in the colours of consumer protection, it’s clear that we’re again dealing with profits over people.  We hope you’ll take action to safeguard our traditional systems of medicine and join the campaign.

4th WAC

Dr Robert Verkerk, chaired and gave the keynote address in the first of two sessions entitled ‘Globalisation of Ayurveda and IPR’.  His presentation outlined the current challenges facing on Ayurveda through impending legislation in Europe.  The Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive (THMPD) poses a significant hurdle for many manufactured products from traditional herbal medicinal disciplines.


Dr Robert Verkerk ANH-Intl, keynote presentation, 4th World Ayurveda Congress, Bengaluru

Similar sentiments were echoed amongst the visiting dignitaries, doctors and academics to the Congress.  A selection of which follow:

“Prevention is better than cure”
“There will be no need for treatment if you use and live the principles of Ayurveda”
“Let us take Ayurveda to the top and have it not just our national pride, but our national health too”
“We have a habit of running with short-term solutions.  We need to look for long-term solutions. Ayurveda is here to stay.  We have a bright future for Indian medicine in India and the rest of the World”

Dr Verkerk appealed to the large audience to become proactive. In communicating his concern over the slowness of response by practitioners and companies involved in the Europe, he made an analogy: He said that it seemed many were sitting on deck chairs admiring the wonders of the ocean, and even after hearing that a tidal wave was due, they still sat enjoying their comfort.

Key connections were made and it seems that most leading players were still not ready to face the reality that is being presented to Ayurvedic suppliers and non-medical practitioners in Europe. Conversely, it was also clear that a few high ranked officials were very aware of the problems and were keen to see all avenues followed to help allow Ayurveda to flourish in Europe, as well as elsewhere in the world.

International Meeting

The 4th WAC was preceded by a 2-day International Delegates Assembly (IDA), held at His Holiness Sri Sri Ravishankar Ji’s ashram—the Art of Living Foundation—on the Kanakpura road outside Bengaluru.


Art of Living Foundation, Bengaluru, India

The IDA was hosted by the Indian government Department of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy), and was opened by Dr SK Sharma, advisor to AYUSH.  There are now 260 Ayurvedic medical colleges offering degrees and post-graduate courses in India to 15,000 students.  Traditionally trained doctors number 7.5 million, their practices being served by 10,000 manufacturing units.  After 4 years of debate with the European Commission over the THMPD, the Indian Government has made little headway.  With full implementation due in May 2011, Dr Sharma argued that this legislation “is not of a scientific nature, but of a trade and political nature”.

Along with around 200 invited international delegates, Dr Rob Verkerk along with Meleni Aldridge, executive coordinator, attended on behalf of ANH-Intl.  Under the theme of ‘global recognition of Ayurveda’ dignatories and delegates outlined the advances in the practice, teaching and awareness of Ayurveda from different parts of the world.  Unfortunately, there still seem to be many in the global Ayurvedic community still unaware of the travesty taking place in Europe.  Rob Verkerk’s presentation entitled “Why urgent regulatory change is needed in Europe to safeguard the future of Ayurveda” sought to change that.


Opening ceremony at the International Delegate Assembly, Art of Living Foundation, Bengaluru, India

Further discussions focussed on the dissemination of Ayurveda globally.  Passion for this ancient holistic, lifestyle approach, that is so much more than a system of medicine, was palpable throughout.  It was refreshing to be amongst such positivity and enthusiasm and in such a tranquil setting as the Art of Living Foundation.  His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar welcomed the delegates and described how Ayurveda was again becoming central to their work in the poorest communities in India.  Volunteers from the Foundation have initiated a programme of teaching the necessary skills needed to help villagers to once again grow traditional herbal plants.  He urged us all to follow this lead internationally to safeguard the vulnerable traditional botanical species, which are most at risk of extinction through over collection.  This simple, cost-effective and sustainable strategy is proving very successful in reducing drug and alcohol addiction and improving health in the villages.


His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Founder, Art of Living Foundation, Bengaluru, India

International delegates and government officials alike shared their personal journeys and experiences of Ayurveda.  Common to all was the immeasurable respect and inherent responsibility synonymous with accepting guardianship of such a precious and ancient philosophy.  That European legislation, in its arrogance and ignorance, may signal an end to traditional medicinal cultures is something we all need to take responsibility for preventing.  Even as western healthcare systems buckle under the spiralling costs of drug-based allopathy, governments, strongly lobbied by pharma cartels, are set to severely handicap our access to preventative healthcare—unless we stand up for our rights.  As Dr Gerry Bodekar, from the department of Medical Sciences, Oxford University reminded us, “there’s nothing alternative about so-called alternative medicine.  Modern medicine could be considered alternative in some parts of the world”.


Dr Gerry Bodekar, Department of Medical Sciences, Oxford University

Without widespread civil action, even disobedience, we are in danger, particularly in Europe, of losing the last vestiges of control over our own health.  A diseased society equals increased profits for the drug industry.  Disease prevention through complementary and alternative medicine is bad for business.  An oft-repeated phrase during the 4th WAC was that there will be no need for treatment if you use and live the principles of Ayurveda.  Health prevention is sustainable—treatment based on western drug-based medicine is not.  The stranglehold that has developed by large corporations over our healthcare, food and energy industries must be broken.  Our health is a basic birthright and traditional medicinal cultures like Ayurveda, Unani, Traditional Chinese Medicine, etc have a huge amount to offer.  At the very least, the choice should be ours.

To avoid becoming another sacrificial lamb on the altar of Big Pharma profits, and to become an active participant in safeguarding the future of traditional herbal medicine in Europe, visit our THMPD campaign.

 

ANH-Europe homepage
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Nurture Traditional Medicinal Cultures campaign page



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FAO and ANH go head to head on Codex – Komentarz „MEDYCYNY TYBETAŃSKIEJ” i dr Enji

Posted on 1 kwietnia 2010. Filed under: ANH, ANH fight for true, ANH walka o prawdę, codex alimentarius, dr Enji, enji, kodeks żywnościowy, lekarz Enji, lekarz Enkhjargal Dovchin, Złe Prawo | Tagi: , , , , , , , |


By the ANH Team

Two scientists on opposing sides of the debate over how the global food supply is being regulated were brought together yesterday to argue and debate their respective positions in front of an audience of leading academics at Lancaster University. The unique debate was convened by the ESRC Centre for Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics (Cesagen) as part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science. The debate was entitled “The Future of Codex Alimentarius”. Leading academics from Lancaster, Edinburgh, Sussex and Sheffield Universities actively participated in a highly engaging debate following presentations by the two scientists.

Dr Ezzeddine Boutrif

Dr Ezzeddine Boutrif, Director of the Nutrition and Consumer Protection Division, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), opened the debate by making a presentation on the claimed benefits, risks and opportunities brought by implementation of the international food code administered through the intergovernmental organization responsible for developing international standards for the global food trade, the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC). Dr Boutrif explained the complex procedures developed to facilitate the workings of the intergovernmental organization and argued that the process was now considerably more transparent than in earlier years.

Dr Robert Verkerk, executive director of the Alliance for Natural Health, an international non-governmental organization, followed Dr Boutrif, questioning the independence of much of the science relied upon by Codex technical committees, providing evidence for the distortion of the process by large vested interests. Dr Verkerk also claimed that Codex’s work on genetically modified foods was inadequate to ensure consumer or environmental protection and that the basis for claiming that GM crops could alleviate hunger and poverty in developing countries was lacking. He advocated that agro-ecological models of agriculture that focused on the self-sufficiency of such agricultural communities—and not biotechnology—would be central to any resolution of the problems.

The global food system has transitioned massively over the last few decades, even since the CAC was formally established by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1963. Central to these changes are the industrialization of agriculture, the establishment of a truly global food trade, the increased consumption and availability of processed foods and accompanying use of food additives, as well as a dramatic adoption of GM crops destined for both the animal and human food chains.

The recommendations, guidelines and standards as established by Codex Alimentarius have become central to the way in which the global food trade is regulated. The over 10-year long dispute between the USA and the EU over growth hormones in beef in which the EU has been forced by the World Trade Organization, on the basis of evidence from Codex, to pay fines amounting to over $120 million annually for refusing import of hormone-treated US and Canadian beef provides an example of the significance of Codex. The EU, in contrast, has argued that some hormones may present a health risk to humans consuming produce from treated animals.

Dr Robert Verkerk

Commenting on the meeting, Dr Verkerk said, “The Cesagen meeting presented a rare opportunity for our views to be aired, not only directly to the FAO, but also to a clutch of leading academics in the genomics and social science fields. There is no doubt in my mind that the interests of consumers, as well as those of smallholder farmers and small businesses in the food trade, are not being adequately addressed by the present Codex structure. Big business and a number of governments have run away on their own track. We hold some hope that well argued positions from the NGO and academic sectors may help to positively shape the system to better deal with the demands of future generations. Developing foods and food production systems that are more compatible both with the environment and our bodies will involve a paradigm shift—and this is about going forwards not backwards. ”


ANH HomepageCodex campaign page

Say No to GM campaign page

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FAO and ANH go head to head on Codex

Posted on 28 marca 2010. Filed under: 1 | Tagi: , , , , , , , , |


By the ANH Team

Two scientists on opposing sides of the debate over how the global food supply is being regulated were brought together yesterday to argue and debate their respective positions in front of an audience of leading academics at Lancaster University. The unique debate was convened by the ESRC Centre for Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics (Cesagen) as part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science. The debate was entitled “The Future of Codex Alimentarius”. Leading academics from Lancaster, Edinburgh, Sussex and Sheffield Universities actively participated in a highly engaging debate following presentations by the two scientists.

Dr Ezzeddine Boutrif

Dr Ezzeddine Boutrif, Director of the Nutrition and Consumer Protection Division, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), opened the debate by making a presentation on the claimed benefits, risks and opportunities brought by implementation of the international food code administered through the intergovernmental organization responsible for developing international standards for the global food trade, the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC). Dr Boutrif explained the complex procedures developed to facilitate the workings of the intergovernmental organization and argued that the process was now considerably more transparent than in earlier years.

Dr Robert Verkerk, executive director of the Alliance for Natural Health, an international non-governmental organization, followed Dr Boutrif, questioning the independence of much of the science relied upon by Codex technical committees, providing evidence for the distortion of the process by large vested interests. Dr Verkerk also claimed that Codex’s work on genetically modified foods was inadequate to ensure consumer or environmental protection and that the basis for claiming that GM crops could alleviate hunger and poverty in developing countries was lacking. He advocated that agro-ecological models of agriculture that focused on the self-sufficiency of such agricultural communities—and not biotechnology—would be central to any resolution of the problems.

The global food system has transitioned massively over the last few decades, even since the CAC was formally established by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1963. Central to these changes are the industrialization of agriculture, the establishment of a truly global food trade, the increased consumption and availability of processed foods and accompanying use of food additives, as well as a dramatic adoption of GM crops destined for both the animal and human food chains.

The recommendations, guidelines and standards as established by Codex Alimentarius have become central to the way in which the global food trade is regulated. The over 10-year long dispute between the USA and the EU over growth hormones in beef in which the EU has been forced by the World Trade Organization, on the basis of evidence from Codex, to pay fines amounting to over $120 million annually for refusing import of hormone-treated US and Canadian beef provides an example of the significance of Codex. The EU, in contrast, has argued that some hormones may present a health risk to humans consuming produce from treated animals.

Dr Robert Verkerk

Commenting on the meeting, Dr Verkerk said, “The Cesagen meeting presented a rare opportunity for our views to be aired, not only directly to the FAO, but also to a clutch of leading academics in the genomics and social science fields. There is no doubt in my mind that the interests of consumers, as well as those of smallholder farmers and small businesses in the food trade, are not being adequately addressed by the present Codex structure. Big business and a number of governments have run away on their own track. We hold some hope that well argued positions from the NGO and academic sectors may help to positively shape the system to better deal with the demands of future generations. Developing foods and food production systems that are more compatible both with the environment and our bodies will involve a paradigm shift—and this is about going forwards not backwards. ”


ANH Homepage

Codex campaign page

Say No to GM campaign page

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