PHARMACEUTICAL giant Bayer has urged the global industry to “look at creating globally accepted standards governing the development of herbal products,” with about 32% of all pharmaceutical drugs currently based on botanicals.
The company issued a statement during the 25th United European Gastroenterology (UEG) Week in Barcelona Spain which looked at Bayer’s Iberogast and functional gastrointestinal disorders in terms of “evidence-based phytomedicine”.
“As consumer demand for herbal medicine continues to grow, the healthcare industry is under increasing pressure to demonstrate how plant-based products deliver the same standards of quality, safety and efficacy as chemical-based medicine,” Bayer said.
The company cited studies showing over 40% of people turn to natural therapies because of a perceived failure of orthodox medicines to treat their problems.
“However, as clinical evidence for many herbal products is typically non-existent, advising patients presents a professional challenge…doctors are often hesitant to recommend non-evidence based herbal remedies which lack evidence regarding their safety and effectiveness”.
Bayer’s global head of innovation and development, Dr John O’Mullane, cited the company’s Iberogast as an example of an evidence-based herbal medicinal product which caters both for doctors’ demand for medical items with scientifically proven efficacy as well as patients’ desire for natural remedies.
“Bayer is a strong advocate for the growing herbal products market…we believe that these products are an integral part of the self-care landscape, which expands the choice consumers have in positively affecting their health and wellbeing,” O’Mullane said.