What alternative health

practitioners might not tell you



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"Today, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, the MHRA, issued a warning against a Chinese Herbal product called 'Jia Yi Jian', and sold as 'Herbal Viagra', through high street Chinese Herbalists. Batches of this product had been seized and examined and they were found to contain exceedingly high levels of undeclared pharmaceutical ingredients. Despite being labelled as being only herbal in origin, the product had actually been adulterated with large quantities of real drugs that were licensed for treating erectile dysfunction and, strangely, obesity..…there are signs we are approaching the regulation of much of Chinese Alternative Medicine in the belief that we simply need to uphold standards of training and ensure that traders are of 'good character'. This will do little to stop adulterated products arriving in the UK or false and misleading claims being made by practitioners. Even unadulterated products present significant risks to customers. At the heart of the regulatory problem is a double standard. Real medicine is tightly regulated. Only a few qualified people can prescribe and dispense. Theirs are professional regulators with teeth and drug companies are not allowed to advertise to the public and make misleading claims in their literature. Somehow, we allow herbalists to imply all sorts of unproven claims. They do not have to provide proof of efficacy or safety. There is no follow up and monitoring of side effects. We do this under the mistaken belief that Chinese Medicine is "traditional, natural and safe". None of this is true. It is a business based on fraud, misleading claims and dangerous practices." The Quackometer (7th April 2009)