Reimagining regulation: PM’s taskforce calls for ‘smarter’ nutraceutical regulation


A government-commissioned report has called for ‘“smarter” regulation of the UK’s nutraceutical industry.

In February, the Prime Minster asked MPs George Freeman, Sir Iain Duncan Smith, and Theresa Villiers to explore new approaches to regulation following the UK’s departure from the EU.

The resulting report from the Task Force on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform (TIGRR) highlights nutraceuticals as a particularly innovative sector and proposes a new regulatory framework to promote the UK as a leader in the category.

Arguing that the “traditional silos of regulatory classification are being challenged by the pace of bioscience,” it calls for a system that recognises the relationship between nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals. Proposals include the creation of a cross-organisational innovation office to co-ordinate the functions of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the Medicines & Healthcare products
Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Former Life Sciences Minister George Freeman authored the sections of the report on nutraceuticals. He said: “The UK has a hugely dynamic nutraceutical sector. However, it is currently operating in a patchy regulatory framework that does not reflect the extraordinary advances taking place in technology and nutrition science. We now have the opportunity to create a smarter, simpler system with a clearer pathway to market for innovative science-backed products. As well as protecting consumers, such reforms would provide greater certainty for businesses and investors and help make the UK a global leader.”

The report also calls for the UK to lead the way on a standard definition of nutraceuticals. “Despite the widespread use of the term ‘nutraceutical’, it’s not referred to anywhere in current UK or EU regulations,” Freeman added. “This is a global issue, and there is an opportunity for the UK to take the lead.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has welcomed the report, stating that it illustrates “the sheer level of ambitious thinking needed to usher in a new golden age of growth and innovation right across the UK.” Downing Street will now host a series of round table events to discuss the report, with the nutraceutical sector a priority.

Former Life Sciences Minister George Freeman, who authored the sections of the report on nutraceuticals.

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