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Keywords:

  • herbal medicine;
  • European Union;
  • Finland;
  • legislation

SUMMARY

Objectives

The study aim was to explore the progress of legislation relating to herbal medicinal products in the European Union and compare it with the corresponding progress of the legislation in Finland in 1965−2007.

Methods

The study was carried out using content analysis. Data were searched from publicly available European Union directives and national acts. All definitions and safety-related requirements for herbal medicinal products were identified. The transposition of safety-related requirements into the national legislation was studied.

Results

Medicinal products from plant origins have been part of the European Union legislation since 1965. Most plant-based products have not initially been regarded as medicinal products but rather as some kind of medicine-like products. The official definition of herbal medicinal products was introduced in Directive 2004/24/EC and implemented into the Finnish legislation with the terminology to recognise herbal medicinal products as part of medicinal products. The current safety-related requirements of medicinal products concern analogously herbal medicinal products.

Conclusions

Herbal medicinal products have had different definitions in pharmaceutical legislation over the study period in the European Union and Finland. The current definition places herbal medicinal products more clearly under the medicinal products' legislation. Safety-related requirements are now practically identical for all medicinal products. Transposition of the European Union legislation into the national legislation in Finland is apparent. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.