Written Answers. - Medicinal Products.

Bernard Allen

Question:

501 Mr. Allen asked the Minister for Health and Children if he will make a statement on a recent communication sent by the Irish Medicines Board describing herbal medicine as voodoo medicine; and if he will ask the board to withdraw this statement. [19232/00]

The article to which the Deputy refers was included in an information pack sent by the Irish Medicines Board to Members of the Oireachtas and Irish MEPs. This circulation arose as a consequence of the appearance of officers of the board at a meeting of the Oireachtas Joint Committees on Health and Children and Enterprise and Small Business which discussed St. John's Wort and related matters.

The information pack consisted of 15 different items including the board's presentation to the joint committees. Also included were the board's published Guide to the Definition of a Medicinal Product, various other documents relating to St. John's Wort and a number of articles relating generally to herbal and alternative medicines. These included the article to which the Deputy refers.

I have been advised by the Irish Medicines Board that it considered the article in question, which was published in a reputable non-scientific journal of international repute, as simply presenting another view, albeit a critical one, in relation to the general issues surrounding alternative medicine. The board points out that the inclusion in the information pack of this article did not constitute an endorsement by the Irish Medicines Board of any of the views expressed in the article.