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February 2001: Almost nine out of ten consumers would like to see government legislation brought in.

Almost nine out of ten consumers (87%) would like to see government legislation brought in to control the production and efficacy, of claims made for herbal medicines, according to a survey* conducted by Taylor Nelson Sofres, for Herbal Concepts, one of the UK's leading herbal medicine companies.

With no current legislation enforcing quality standards, many unlicensed herbal remedies are available making treatment claims with no supporting, independent clinical trials to prove their effects or safety. It is only licensed herbal medicines that have undergone the same rigorous Department of Health checks and clinical tests as conventional drugs, which can prove their efficacy and safety standards.

The survey also showed that only about half the population actually understand the difference between a licensed herbal medicine and an unlicensed herbal remedy, making the need for legislation even more critical.

"With the UK herbal medicines market now worth around £55million and continuing to grow at about 12% per year, there are huge numbers of people now buying herbal treatments in good faith and really not knowing what they are getting," said Tim Michael, Marketing Director, Herbal Concepts.

"Herbal medicines are just that –medicines – and people have to be protected against their mis-use and mis-selling in the same way as they are with conventional drugs. All our herbal medicines are licensed by the government and we believe the entire market should be regulated in this way."

The survey also showed the continued growth in popularity for herbal medicines with 71% of consumers saying they would buy a licensed herbal medicines, up from 68% in the same survey conducted in June last year. Among parents, figures were even higher with 75% now prepared to buy licensed herbal medicines to treat their family.

"The survey reinforced our belief that the public are increasingly aware of the benefits of herbal medicines," added Tim Michael, "but now is the time to make sure the market is regulated, so everyone can be sure of the quality and efficacy of the herbal medicines they buy."


* survey conducted by Taylor Nelson Sofres, 26-28 January 2001 among 1000+ adults, aged 16+ throughout the UK and across all demographic groups.


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