The Irish Health Trade Association (IHTA) is working hard to ensure
companies get the most from membership, explains Phil Costigan.

We are keeping busy here at the IHTA, paying attention to regulatory and market developments impinging and impacting on our member company businesses.

The IHTA – Working Hard on your Behalf

EHPM_CMYK-300x229From previous articles, readers will recall that VAT on food supplements is a core issue for us. We remain active on this issue and currently we are responding to Revenue’s recent invitation to engage in consultation with them. We stress again that companies supplying to the Irish market need to be up to date on how VAT on food supplements is evolving. You may also recall we told you that the IHTA is actively participating in the review of botanical food supplements currently being undertaken by the European Federation of Associations of Health Product Manufacturers (EHPM). The EHPM Botanicals Working Group (BWG) has made significant progress in developing a model for traditional use health claims on botanical food supplements, including the implications for quality and safety. It is expected the BWG will be ready to present a best practice publication on botanicals by the end of July 2016.

The IHTA will be presenting this valuable work to our national regulators, namely the Food Safety Authority of Ireland and the Health Products Regulatory Authority. We continue to build on our co-operative and consultative links with both agencies. Indeed, our members will soon have the benefit of hearing from the newly appointed HPRA Director of Human Products Authorisation and Registration; Dr Jayne Crowe will be a guest speaker at the IHTA AGM being held in April. In addition to hearing how the HPRA is dealing with current challenges, our members will benefit from learning more on the future plans and directions of the HPRA. It is pivotal for business operators not only to be familiar with the existing regulatory environment but, to have a sense of what is coming down the road, vigilance and preparation are necessary components to any
successful business.

Adding to our remit, the IHTA has recently accepted an invitation from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to take a seat on the Irish Codex Advisory Committee (ICAC). This committee provides a forum to enable relevant Government departments/agencies, NGOs, consumers and industry bodies to make known their views in a structured way, for consideration in the formulation of the official national position on Codex Alimentarius issues. The recent meeting held in March covered discussion on contaminants in foods, food additives, pesticides residues, Codex Alimentarius Commission, food hygiene, nutrition and foods for special dietary uses, and food import and export inspection and certification systems.

The IHTA representative is Dr Sabine Eggers, Technical Advisor to an IHTA member company. She is a qualified pharmacist, is
experienced in clinical research, project management and drug regulatory affairs in the pharmaceutical industry in Ireland and Germany. She has lectured on herbal remedies and food supplements at University College Cork, the Royal College of Surgeons, the Institute of Technology Carlow and the National Learning Network. We are very pleased to have a presence at the ICAC meetings, not only to keep our attention and awareness on what happens at Codex Alimentarius but to have the opportunity to add our voice to the proceedings and work in tandem with agency stakeholders. As readers know, we are an astute dedicated team here at the IHTA; if your business is supplying to the Irish market, give us a call and explore joining our team.

Phil Costigan is General Secretary of the Irish Health Trade Association (IHTA), which represents the interests of manufacturers, importers and distributors of natural health products in Ireland. The principal aim of the IHTA is to assist member companies in promoting the wellness of all people in Ireland. For more information on the IHTA, visit