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Industry reaction as MHRA set to issue guidance on glucosamine levels

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The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency is due to issue guidance around the levels at which glucosamine should be sold as a food supplement.

The move comes following a court case which sought to have glucosamine declassified as a food supplement in favour of it being classified as a medicine. The case was unsuccessful and it was ruled that glucosamine would continue to be a food supplement. However, the MHRA has now confirmed it will be issuing guidance around what it considers appropriate levels for it to be a food supplement.

Speaking to Health Food Business, an MHRA spokeswoman commented: “Following a Court of Appeal Judgment in 2016, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) have carried out a review of the classification of glucosamine containing products (GCPs), which included commissioning consumer research to understand how and why they are used. We are expecting to be able to communicate the results of this review very shortly.”

The Health Food Manufacturers’ Association (HFMA) has worked closely with the MHRA on the case, and responding to the news, HFMA Executive Director, Graham Keen, told Health Food Business: “As the responsible trade association representing the natural products industry, we have been working closely in support of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in their recent court case regarding the status of Glucosamine Containing Products (GCPs), which has been ongoing for several years.

“Those seeking to have glucosamine classed as a medicine at any level were unsuccessful in this aim and glucosamine will still be available as a food supplement. However, new guidance expected from the MHRA will mean that anything at or above a level of 1,178mg glucosamine (base) or the equivalent figure of 1500mg glucosamine sulphate per daily intake, will be classed as medicinal.

“Following this advice, we will be working with members to develop effective products at a new food supplement upper level of 1400mg glucosamine sulphate per daily intake, which will now act as the strongest level of glucosamine available without prescription.

“As an industry that already operates in one of the most regulated environments in the world, we will continue to work with other associations to establish these new guidance levels for the industry, and to ensure that the new approach is fairly and consistently applied in a way that is responsible and clear to consumers.”

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