ECHAMP Response: ‘External Study Report on the Availability of Medicinal Products for Human Use,’ by Matrix Insight

ECHAMP warmly welcomes the publication of the ‘External Study Report on the Availability of Medicinal Products for Human Use,’ which gives significant prominence, for the first time, to the situation concerning the availability of homeopathic and anthroposophic medicinal products in the EU. Although the report contains some statements that are not fully correct from ECHAMP's point of view, the overall positive aspects clearly outweigh the deficits. 

The long-awaited study investigates the availability of medicinal products for human use in the EU and EEA, focusing on the authorisation procedures for medicinal products. It investigates different reasons for lack of availability and the effectiveness of existing European legislative provisions in addressing these problems, exploring six case studies, including the use of Article 126a of Directive 2001/83/EC (Cyprus Clause) and the availability of herbal, homeopathic and anthroposophic medicinal products.

The study quotes ECHAMP’s own report ‘The Availability of Homeopathic and Anthroposophic Medicinal Products in the EU’ as its main source of information on this topic. ECHAMP is now working hard to analyse the new report and we will share our conclusions with Members before Christmas. For now, we welcome the fact that the report acknowledges the need to improve the national implementation of simplified procedures for homeopathic and anthroposophic medicinal products as one example of a specific area for improvement. 

This study report is presented as a working document of the Pharmaceutical committee, an advisory Committee to the Commission that consists of senior experts in public health matters from the Member States' administrations; it is an independently written document, which means it does not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Commission. Nevertheless, it is hoped it will add significant weight to ECHAMP’s goal of suitable regulation for our products.

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The role of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) in reducing the problem of antimicrobial resistance

Press Release: CAM — an important role to play in combating Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)

Reference: EUROCAM’s document(PDF)Anhang

The European Health Community welcomes President-elect Juncker’s decision to ensure the security of all Europeans by regulating health for the public good

October 22th 2014, Brussels – The NGO signatories of this statement wholeheartedly welcome the announcement of the reversal of the decision by President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker to move the competence for pharmaceutical and medical devices to the enterprise directorate.

Following negotiations within the European Parliament and concerns expressed by a number of member states, President-elect Juncker stated today that the "responsibility for medicines and pharmaceutical products will stay with the Directorate-General for Health because I agree with you that medicines are not goods like any other. The relevant policy will be developed jointly by Vytenis Andriukaitis and by Elżbieta Bieńkowska, who showed her incredible talents in her hearing." This signals that these policies are seen by President-elect Juncker as an essential part of European health policy. It also indicates that the safety and security of Europeans are prioritized in the new Commission. We would like to warmly thank President-elect Juncker for his commitment to the promise that he made in response to an open letter sent to him by 35 public health organizations where he stated that “As President of the Commission, I will make sure that public health will be at least as important in our policies as internal market considerations.”

With this new perspective, Mr Juncker has demonstrated that medicines are not an ordinary internal market good and that pharmaceutical policy is crucial to the sustainability of health systems; not solely an instrument for promoting economic growth. This can be seen also as a clear victory for public health, patients and European citizens. Commissioner-Designate for Health and Food Safety, Dr Vytenis Andriukaitis** will now have the tools to fulfill his mandate to harmonize pharmaceutical governance within the EU and facilitate emergency preparedness; the very reasons that in 2009 led the European Commission to move responsibility for medicines and medical devices into the hands of the health Commissioner.

** (10 September 2014, Brussels – Today Mr Vytenis Andriukaitis, former Health Minister of Lithuania, was designated as new European Commissioner for the Health Policy and Food Safety portfolio) 

High-level conference “Ayurveda in the spirit of Integrative Medicine” in Budapest 22-24 Sept 2014

A delegation headed by Shri Nilanjan Sanyal, Secretary, Deptt. of AYUSH, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare visited Hungary on 21-24th September 2014. Accompanied by Shri Bala Prasad, Joint Secretary, Deptt. of AYUSH and Dr. Abhimanyu Kumar, Director, All India Institute of Ayurveda and Director Incharge Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences, New Delhi, the delegation came to visit Hungary with the aim to promote Ayurveda in the country, and to participate in the International Ayurveda conference which was held on 22-23rd September in cooperation with the Traditional Indian Medicine for the Public Health in Hungary Foundation.

On 22nd Sept. the inaugural session of the conference was held at the ASCC auditorium of the Embassy from 1500-18:15 featuring a short film on Ayurveda, welcome addresses by Ambassador Malay Mishra and Dr. Peter Medgyessy, Founder, Traditional Indian Medicine for the Public Health in Hungary Foundation and several presentations.

Belgian Government legislates to restrict the availability of homeopathy to its citizens

On 29 April 1999, in line with the international and national recommendations on complementary and alternative medical (CAM) therapies expressed by bodies such as the Council of Europe and the European Parliament, the Belgian Parliament voted in the Colla Law in order to initially regulate practitioners of four of the most popular CAM practices in Belgium: acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy and osteopathy.

In the years to follow professional bodies for these practices were founded and accredited by the Ministry of Health, among which the Liga Homeopathica Classica was established for homeopathy. The Liga established high standards for the education and professional profile of homeopaths in line with the guidelines of the European Central Council of Homeopaths in preparation for an eventual specific legal framework for the profession.

Eventually, after legal pressure was brought to bear, the Ministry of Health set up 4 commissions, one for each practice, in order to establish the specific details concerning the regulation the four disciplines. Unfortunately the homeopathy commission was neither democratically constituted, nor did they include adequate representation of the most important interest of all, patients and citizens.

On Monday 12 May 2014, 15 years after the Colla Law was introduced, a Royal Decree was published by the Ministry of Health that completely denies the autonomy of the profession of the homeopath and deprives Belgian patients of their freedom of choice to have homeopathic treatment now and into the future.