Here’s the summary: “In 2004, a European Regulation (2004/24/EC) was voted in order to establish a list of herbal medicines allowed on the EU market. The Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive (THMPD)’s goal was to provide a regulatory approval process for all herbal medicine products sold over the counter within the EU. According to this Directive, any herbal remedy which is not listed officially cannot be legally sold on the market. The Directive came into effect on the 30th April 2004. This Directive establishes a series of criteria with which all herbal medicines must comply, in order to obtain the authorization to be marketed within the EU.” (see “Ban on Herbal Medicine: Pharmaceutical Industry and EU Vs. Traditional Herbal Medicine Products,” by Manon Godot).
The article explains the directive in detail, as well as its implications; the pharmaceutical industry does not want to lose its monopoly on medicine. It does not want to compete with non-patentable entities in a burgeoning market of alternative medicine. The directive is clearly a response to this sentiment, but is advanced under the guise of paternalism: “We want to protect you from potentially harmful products.” Yeah right. Protect us. Sounds as rich as the FDA.
Lately I’ve been thinking about industry pressure. In my previous article, “On Scientific Reductionism,” I laid a framework of thought that would ultimately bias my readers against this European directive, which requires a body of scientific research to demonstrate the efficacy of each herbal product applying for recognition on the approved list.
My comment on the article went thus, “Western philosophy set the trend for reductionism. Frustrated with the wishy-washy language of holism, we categorized, labelled, and tried to control for things we wanted to study. Much of scientific inquiry is based in the practice of trying to study a single component, such as A, and see how, for example, when B is altered, it will affect C.
“It is this mindset which has led to many negative environmental, health, economic, and political problems. Our arrogant and parochial views of how systems work is the driving force.
“The European Regulation (2004/24/EC) is a stunning example of our lack of understanding and frenetic attempts for control.”
Nothing ever changes, does it? Are we surprised that such a directive could be passed? After learning how stevia was a victim, just one example, of industry pressure, I certainly wasn’t. After all, industry pressure is a leading force in turning this world. Individuals respond very promptly to financial incentives; politicians, to multi-national corporations. This method works.
I want my readers to acknowledge subversive methods by which parties attempt to gain control. This does not apply merely to herbal medicine; it applies to practically every facet of our lives.