Saturday, June 13, 2015

Big Pharma has a grip on EU legislation

Looks like Big Pharma’s grip on EU Legislators tightens! After three years before the courts the plea from the UK Health Food Manufacturer’s Association (HFMA) and their Dutch counterpart (NPN) to annul the current health claims list has been rejected. This means that the restrictive list of health claims (which do not accept 'tradition of use' for supplements and botanicals - rather looking for pharmaceutical-type trials) remains. The current list outlaws hundreds of well-established health claims on all foodstuffs including drinks, food supplements and foods. 

Just one example of hundreds of such claims is the failure to authorise the claim “dietary fibre helps maintain a healthy digestive system.” 

Looks like they’ll be wrangling over this for years to come. Meanwhile consumers and manufacturers of natural medicines, supplements, nutraceuticals, functional foods - the products that informed consumers are turning to in preference to pharmaceuticals - are losing out. The official statement from HFMA says “this was never about the right to make claims that could not be substantiated, but was always about the freedom of consumers to access responsible information that is supported by robust scientific evidence appropriate for nutritional products rather than pharmaceutical drugs.” No prizes for guessing who might drive this sort of decision …

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