We are delighted to say a huge “Thank you!” to ANH legal action supporters! Your donations have now seen us raise the £90,000 (€106,000) target we had indicated for the first stage of our proposed legal challenge aimed at protecting the availability of herbal products in the EU.
Given that we have raised the amount we targeted for the first phase, we are now holding off actively fundraising for the legal challenge. If any monies are received that are marked for the legal challenge, we will place them in our legal fund for use in the second phase of the action in the European court.
The majority of these funds have been raised by thousands of people contributing small amounts from different parts of the EU, especially in the UK. Some individuals and practitioner associations have donated larger amounts on behalf of their members,. A small number of companies involved in the herbal sector have also contributed. Associations and companies who have donated and wished to be identified publicly are listed on our website.
Together with our colleagues at the European Benefyt Foundation, we have made great progress with preparing the case. Because new evidence has become available, we have delayed the planned date of filing in the High Court in London. We are currently working on filing before the end of March 2011, a deadline we made public in a recent interview with the online natural product news service, Nutraingredients. While the case will be initiated in the UK courts, we intend to seek a reference to the European Court of Justice. The purpose of the case is to resolve the inequalities and negative impacts that the EU’s Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive (THMPD) has on herbal products that have long been available, without significant safety concerns, to consumers all over the EU.
Our relationship with healing and medicinal plants is intimate from an evolutionary perspective and goes back before the dawn of our species. More and more people are finding that knowledge built up over millennia of experience with medicinal plants offers a unique opportunity to take responsibility for their health. As our diets have become compromised by the industrialisation and contamination of our food supply, the use of supplementary herbal products has, for many, become an essential requirement for health and wellbeing. A large and growing number of people choose to look after their health in this way, and experience a level of vitality and wellbeing that was previously impossible using only pharmaceutical drugs aimed principally at controlling symptoms of disease.
However, this is not about an either/or situation. Our concern is that the EU Directive will remove a huge array of products from the EU’s open market. The loss of our access to herbal products, following misinterpretation and poor application of a piece of European law, represents an infringement of our fundamental rights and freedoms. It discriminates particularly against non-European cultures with long-standing histories of using herbal products for healthcare. The great Asian traditions of Ayurveda and traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), as well as Tibetan, Kampo (Japanese), southern African and Amazonian traditions, are among those worst affected. Not a single product authentic to any of these traditions has yet to be registered under the EU Directive’s simplified medicinal registration scheme.
Soon, it will be time for us to stand together and to present our concerns to the courts. Once a court date in London has been announced, we will set up a register for those wishing to attend the court hearing. Numbers will be limited, so they will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. We would love to see so many people demonstrating outside the court that the judges will understand our strength of feeling on this issue!
In the unlikely event that we are unsuccessful in seeking a reference to the European court, we will refund donations to the attributed donor. Any funds that are not attributed for the legal action we will receive as usual into our campaign fund in the normal way and that will help with our operation of 10 simultaneous ANH-Intl campaigns. Your donations play an invaluable part by helping us to be more effective on behalf of the millions around the world who share our interests in protecting and promoting our right to natural health.
Finally, on behalf of all of us at ANH-Intl, I would once again like to offer a massive “Thank you!” to all of you who have contributed, whatever the amount. You have made it possible for ANH-Intl to use the remaining elements of our democratic system to help shape a world that we are content to live in, and that we are content to hand on to future generations. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for having that vision. As always, we will keep you posted on progress.
In health, naturally, on behalf of the whole ANH-Intl team
Robert Verkerk PhD?Founder, and executive and scientific director?Alliance for Natural Health International
For our FREE Newsletter.