An amended version of my first blog post about Principle Healthcare.
Vitamin pill entrepreneurs Principle Healthcare promote several herbal remedies on their website. Two of the remedies they sell are sometimes sold under section 12 of the Medicines Act 1968 as unlicensed herbal remedies.
Under section 12(1) of the act, remedies not industrially produced may be exempt from the normal requirements for a medicine to hold a product licence or marketing authorisation, and under section 12(2) of the act, manufactured unlicensed herbal remedies that are sold as over-the-counter products may be exempt from licensing requirements if they have no brand name and no claims.
The industrially produced herbal remedies sold by Principle Healthcare were being promoted on their website via the use of medicinal claims.
Here’s what their website stated:
Echinacea is a traditional herbal remedy that can help combat the common cold, stimulate the immune system and help in wound healing. [http://principlehealthcare.co.uk/popup.cfm?p_n=412011&p_i=412011]
St John’s Wort is a traditional herbal remedy that has been traditionally used to improve mood. It is often referred to as the ‘sunshine herb’. [http://principlehealthcare.co.uk/popup.cfm?p_n=412015&p_i=412015]
Given that this company is selling herbal remedies that have medicinal properties and was promoting them by making claims of benefits that, in my opinion, are medicinal benefits it seemed to me that they should have obtained a marketing authorisation for these products.
I contacted the MHRA to alert them to the nature of the commercial practises of this firm. Here is the MHRA’s response:
Thank you for your e-mail and for bring this matter to our attention. We do regard these to be inappropriate medicinal claims
Here’s what the Principle Healthcare website now shows for St John’s Wort and Echinacea:
Echinacea is a perennial herb native to North America but also cultivated in Britain. The flowers are a rich purple colour with a faint aromatic scent and sweetish taste. The active substance is typically derived from root.
St John’s wort is a shrubby perennial herb with bright yellow flowers and oblong to linear leaves that are covered with transparent oil glands.
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