MEPs call for improved availability of CAM medicinal products
19 Aug 2015
Members of the European Parliament met on 1 July to discuss the availability of herbal, homeopathic and anthroposophic medicinal products in the EU. The European Interest Group for the complementary and alternative medicine (CAM interest group) meeting took place in the European Parliament and was hosted and chaired by Sirpa Pietikäinen MEP (Finland).
The title of the meeting was, "Ensuring the availability of CAM medicinal products for the benefit of EU citizens in order to exploit their potential to address some major health issues of our time such as antimicrobial resistance and chronic disease." It addressed the fact that in several EU Member States, the availability of herbal, homeopathic, and anthroposophic medicinal products is unnecessarily limited. This fact has been confirmed by the recent report by Matrix Insight, commissioned by DG Health and Food Safety of the European Commission. The lack of availability of these products inhibits an increasing demand by EU citizens for these low risk, health-enhancing medicines, hampering the ability of doctors and practitioners to deliver CAM treatments effectively. It also undermines the potential benefit of these products in helping to tackle health issues prioritised by the Commission such as combating anti-microbial resistance, managing chronic conditions and sustaining healthy ageing. Measures need to be implemented to solve this situation.
At the meeting, experts from the CAM community outlined issues that limit availability of these medicinal products, presenting proposals for positive action within the current legal framework. As a follow up to the meeting, a cross-party group of MEPs, Sirpa Pietikäinen, Marian Harkin, Liisa Jaakonsaari, Alojz Peterle and Michèle Rivasi wrote to the European Health Commissioner, Vytenis Andriukaitis, urging him to issue a Communication addressing the problems highlighted by the Matrix report.