As consumer demand for herbal medicine continues to grow, the healthcare industry is under increasing pressure to demonstrate how plant-based products deliver the same level of requirements with regard to quality, safety and efficacy as chemical based medicine.
At the 25th United European Gastroenterology (UEG) Week in Barcelona, Spain, Dr. John O’Mullane, Global Head, Innovation and Development at the Consumer Health Division of Bayer, called on the industry to look at creating globally accepted standards governing the development of herbal products. Together with renowned experts in the field of gastroenterology, Dr. O’Mullane demonstrated the importance of evidence-based phytomedicine, focusing on Iberogast™ and its growing importance in the treatment of Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (FGIDs).
About 40 percent of all pharmaceutical drugs are based on botanicals(1), and the World Health Organization estimates that 80 percent of people rely on herbal medicines for some part of their primary healthcare(2). Research shows that consumers perceive natural over-the-counter products to be safer and as efficacious, if not more effective, than traditional over-the-counter products.(3) Dr. O’Mullane, said, “Bayer is a strong advocate for the growing herbal products market. We believe that these products are an integral part of the self-care landscape, which expands the choice consumers have in positively affecting their health and well-being.”
However, as the mode of action of many herbal products remains unknown, advising patients presents a professional challenge.(4) Doctors are often hesitant to recommend herbal remedies, due to the lack of clinically proven evidence regarding their safety and effectiveness. Multi-component herbal products like Iberogast face a significant additional challenge, since all components have to be thoroughly studied to show not only safety, but also their added benefit to the combination, for example possible synergistic effects of the ingredients. Therefore, elucidation of the resulting multi-target mechanisms of action and favorable benefit-to-risk ratio of herbal products has been established in numerous pharmacological and clinical studies stretched over decades of cutting edge research.
The unique formula of Iberogast and its nine medicinal plant extracts with antispasmodic, gas relieving and anti-inflammatory properties(5) caters to both needs − the doctors’ demand for medicinal products with scientifically proven efficacy ratings of the highest standards, and the patients’ desire for natural remedies.
In more than 20 scientific studies, Iberogast has been proven to act as an efficacious multi-target phytomedicine. This effort has been recognized by leading gastroenterologist including Professor Vincenzo Stanghellini, Chair of Internal Medicine in the Department Digestive Diseases at the University of Bologna, Italy, and member of the Rome Panel who explained, “We included Iberogast in the Rome guidelines latest update as a treatment option for Functional Dyspepsia, due to the very good data on its efficacy and safety.” The Rome diagnostic criteria have been considered the gold standard for defining FGIDs for nearly 20 years by both gastrointestinal clinicians and researchers.(1)
Dr. Jordi Serra, Director of the Motility and Functional Gut Disorders Unit at the University Hospital, German Trias Pujol, Badalona, Spain explained, “Iberogast has been shown to act at different levels on gut function, offering a safe and effective treatment alternative for multiple symptoms.” Professor Peter Malfertheiner, Chairman of the Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Infectious Diseases at the Otto-von-Guericke University, Magdeburg, Germany, also emphasized, “Iberogast, opposed to many common medicines, can be taken for a prolonged period of time and can, therefore, especially help chronic patients.”
Despite the growing demand for evidence-based herbal treatments like Iberogast, herbal products are still far away from being fully integrated into health care systems worldwide. By calling for globally accepted standards to govern the development of herbal products, the industry can demonstrate the vital role they play in meeting consumer demand and providing HCPs with the evidence they require to be confident in recommending these treatments using the success of products like Iberogast. Dr. O’Mullane said, “The lack of international standards and scientific evidence can erode confidence amongst consumers and healthcare professionals. Thus Bayer is committed to establish high standards in all aspects of the production of herbal medicines globally.”
Iberogast™ is a clinically proven natural remedy that provides effective relief from multiple digestive disorders. Iberogast™ can be taken easily by simply adding 20 drops to a small glass of water or other liquid up to three times a day, before or during a meal. Iberogast™ has been available for over 55 years and more than 60 million people worldwide trust it. In more than 20 scientific studies, Iberogast has been proven to act as an efficacious multi-target phytomedicine.
About Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (FGIDs)
FGIDs cause problems and discomfort for many people: one out of three people worldwide suffers from debilitating symptoms such as abdominal pain, cramps, fullness, bloating and nausea. Symptoms can vary widely, and consumers often have to consult several physicians in order to receive a reliable diagnosis.
Bayer: Science For A Better Life
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the Life Science fields of health care and agriculture. Its products and services are designed to benefit people and improve their quality of life. At the same time, the Group aims to create value through innovation, growth and high earning power. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development and to its social and ethical responsibilities as a corporate citizen. In fiscal 2016, the Group employed around 99,600 people and had sales of EUR 34.9 billion. Capital expenditures amounted to EUR 2.2 billion, R&D expenses to EUR 4.4 billion. For more information, go to www.bayer.com