§ Dr. Iddon
To ask the Secretary of State for Health upon what basis the Medicines Control Agency included in its Regulatory Impact Assessment of the European Traditional Herbal Medicines and Products Directive the statement that for many retailer, herbal remedies currently constitute a relatively limited proportion of shelf spac 435W with whom they consulted before presenting this statement; and what calculations they have made of the percentage of turnover such products represent for a typical specialist health food retailer. 
§ Ms Blears
During preparation of the partial regulatory impact assessment (RIA), the Medicines Control Agency (MCA) visited a number of retail outlets, including health food shops, pharmacies and supermarkets. The Agency's broad assessment was that, typically, herbal remedies often form part of a wider range of products including for example, vitamins, minerals, other nutrients, organic food and a varied range of other herbal products that would not be classified as medicines. Clearly the proportion of shelf space allocated to herbal remedies varies significantly as between different retailers.
The partial RIA is currently under consultation and the Agency would welcome quantified information from retailing interests about the proportion of overall sales which relates to over the counter herbal remedies, that is remedies where the active ingredients are herbal only.
The MCA continues to receive feedback from key organisations in the herbal sector, such as UK manufacturers of traditional herbal remedies, that the introduction of the standards proposed in the directive is necessary if the long-term prosperity of the sector is to be maintained.
§ Dr. Iddon
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what consultations the Medicines Control Agency has had with(a) the National Association of Health Stores, (b) Consumers for Health Choice, (c) Holland & Barratt Retail Ltd., (d) General Nutrition Centres and (e) other representatives of the specialist health food sector and its consumers, prior to producing its Regulatory Impact Assessment of the European Traditional Herbal Products Directive. 
§ Ms Blears
The Medicines Control Agency (MCA) has had a wide range of discussions with a large number of interest groups from the herbal sector during development work on the proposed directive on traditional herbal medicinal products. Among those involved have been representatives of manufacturers, retailers, consumers, herbal and other complementary medicine practitioners, pharmacists and a range of individuals with relevant expertise. Interest groups from the health food sector taking part have included the National Association of Health Stores, Consumers for Health Choice, the Health Food Manufacturers's Association (HFMA) and the Institute of Health Food Retailing. In addition to meetings instigated by the MCA, the agency has participated in various conferences and meetings organised by external parties, such as the HFMA and the herbal registration forum, to discuss the implications of the emerging proposals. These discussions continue.