Sir: Your headline "Chinese herb banned after two deaths" (29 July) is incorrect; the patients have not died but sadly suffered kidney failure.
Herbal practitioners have long advocated that the EU should adopt a new herbal directive which would allow herbal medicines to be licensed without in effect banning most herbal remedies altogether. Since herbs cannot be patented, no company could recoup the huge sums of money required by current EU medicines law (Directive 65/65 EEC) to license any previously unlicensed herbal medicine.
We support the UK government in its bid to persuade the EU to adopt a different approach to herbal medicine which could stipulate stringent quality and safety standards while taking into account the traditional use of plant medicines.
A recent official EU survey showed that 13 out of 15 member states were in breach of current EU medicines legislation when it came to regulating herbal remedies. Can it be that in this case it is the law that is an ass?
European Herbal Practitioners Association