Essential medicines and health products

General Information on IRCH

Background

A World Health Organization (WHO) working group meeting on international regulatory cooperation for herbal medicines took place from 28 to 30 November 2005 in Ottawa, Canada, hosted by, and with the financial support of, the Natural Health Products Directorate, Health Products and Food Branch of Health Canada. Twenty-nine participants from 16 countries attended the meeting. Representatives of regional bodies and groups on herbal medicines were also invited to attend the meeting. After intensive discussion, the participants agreed by consensus to establish a network for International Regulatory Cooperation for Herbal Medicines (IRCH). Subsequently, the IRCH was established in early 2006 by receiving the nomination of the information focal points from the invited countries to join the IRCH by WHO. The second WHO working group meeting on international regulatory cooperation for herbal medicines took place from 23 to 25 October 2006 in Beijing, China. Since the IRCH was already established, this meeting was considered as the first annual meeting of IRCH. Delegations from 11 of 13 Members of IRCH attended the meeting together with observers from four national regulatory authorities. These terms of reference for IRCH were drafted based on the discussion at the first WHO working group meeting and reviewed and agreed by consensus at the second WHO working group meeting: the first annual meeting of IRCH in October 2006.

Mission

International Regulatory Cooperation for Herbal Medicines is a network to protect and promote public health and safety through improved regulation for herbal medicines.

Membership of IRCH and admission process

Membership is open to any national regulatory authority responsible for the regulation of herbal medicines and regional/sub-regional bodies responsible for the regulation of herbal medicines.

An interested country must apply for membership through a national regulatory authority.

WHO conducts the administrative admission procedure which starts with a candidate country showing interest in joining IRCH. WHO will then screen and review the application according to the admission criteria set according to the terms of reference of the IRCH.

Contact

Coordinator, Traditional and Complementary Medicine
World Health Organization, 1211 Geneva 27 Switzerland
E-mail address: trm@who.int

Share