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    TCM herbal remedies are popular among European patients. However, a very limited number of TCM products have been approved as herbal medicinal products (HMPs) in Europe. Multi-herbal TCM products, the most prevalent form of medication in TCM practice, are even rare. This indicates multi-herbal TCM products are facing considerable obstacles in the access to EU market. To further identify such obstacles, we make a systematic analysis of current advances in both EU herbal monographs and combination HMPs granted in member states and present main features of the regulation as well as challenges for multi-herbal TCM products. The results show the EU is open to combination HMPs based on TCM or other non-European traditions. The regulation allows appropriate flexibility in the range of drug extraction rations, variation in concentrations of extraction solvent and number of herbal drugs presented in the product, if plausible pharmacological effects could be justified. Meanwhile, to guarantee the safety and efficacy based on medicinal usage, especially to justify the rationale or plausibility of the combination, is the key element for well-established use or traditional use combination HMPs. Additionally, EU herbal monographs also have great value in their marketing procedure. Nonetheless, there are many challenges in the European market access of multi-herbal TCM products which lies in quality control, safety and efficacy evaluation and others e.g., practical standard for full marketing authorization. Enforced scientific research and communication among research institutions, industries and authorities are necessary to further facilitate the access of multi-herbal TCM products to EU market. The results of this article may provide guidance for HMPs based on TCM or other non-European traditions with intention to entering EU market. Copyright © 2022 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


    Liping Qu, Xiuli Li, Yin Xiong, Zhun Wang, Yuehua Zhou, Wenjun Zou, Jianyuan Tang, Mei Wang. Opportunities and hurdles to European market access for multi-herbal traditional Chinese medicine products: An analysis of EU regulations for combination herbal medicinal products. Pharmacological research. 2022 Dec;186:106528

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    PMID: 36332812

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