By Mark Land, M.S., RAC, AAHP President
“A Century of Service Promoting Integrity, Quality and Trust in Homeopathic Medicines!” That was our motto for this centennial year of the association, which was marked with several presentations about the work we’ve accomplished together and the growth of the U.S. homeopathic market. Available upon request, the presentation gives an overview of the past, present, and future of the homeopathic market, the association, and regulations. Presentations were made at:
- AAHP’s Annual Membership Meeting (March)
- The Joint American Homeopathic Conference (March)
- A Consumer Healthcare Products Association’s (CHPA) conference to prospective members (March)
- To a member company’s database of health care providers (March)
- Homeopathy Research Institute’s (HRI) International Homeopathy Research Conference (June)
- American Institute of Homeopathy’s Homeopathy and the Future of Global Health Conference (October)
- And via a National Center for Homeopathy webinar (November)
A special thanks to CHPA for donating graphic design services for our special 100th-anniversary logo.
Increasing Our Reach
Quite a bit of what AAHP does is discuss issues and exchange information with many other organizations. This year we listened to experts’ perspectives, helped to onboard new staff, or briefed on issues specific to homeopathy or federal procedure with HPUS, CHPA, HRI, AFHC, ANH, AHE, AIH. AAHP continues to meet with 13 other homeopathic groups each quarter to exchange ideas and learn about projects through the Homeopathic Action Alliance.
This year we also initiated a study on the safety of homeopathic medicines with the American Foundation of Pharmaceutical Education. During the Semiannual Membership Meeting, AFPE president Ellen Woods explained our two proposals to sponsor a grant for a pharmacy student.
Internationally AAHP has been meeting with representatives of the Canadian Homeopathic Pharmaceutical Association and European Coalition for Homeopathic and Anthroposphic Medicinal Products to exchange regulatory information in our respective regions.
Connecting with Retailers
At September’s Industry Reception, Walgreen’s Michael Wolf, PharmD, Senior Director/Divisional Merchandise Manager, OTC Drugs, was honored with AAHP’s 5th Integrative Medicine Retailer Award.
We continue to fulfill requests from major national chains as well as smaller retailers to clarify questions about the FDA guidance and assist with legislation.
Members were urged to audit their labeling and advertising practices for non-compliance in April as FTC issued 670 Notices of Penalty Offenses letters. This opens the way for FTC to act against offenders and to charge monetary penalties. AAHP spoke with several allied associations and responded to retailers’ questions.
AAHP met with several key Congressional office targets. One office was interested to understand the source of homeopathy being the “safest class of drugs.” AAHP provided its analysis of Poison Control Center data.
The association continues to analyze warning letters and other FDA documents pertaining to the industry, some of which were published as the result of others’ actions.
Education and Events
Beyond the seven presentations on our 100th anniversary, our volunteers also organized the following events:
- AAHP GMP Seminar: a half-day with an FDA official and a former FDA officer addressing one of the most common reasons for an FDA warning letter to manufacturers of homeopathic products— microbial contamination in non-sterile drug products. (October)
- AAHP-HRI Research Webinar: promoted as a fundraiser for HRI’s valuable work. Thank you NCH for helping to promote the event. AAHP also hosted HRI’s CEO Rachel Roberts in the U.S. — making several beneficial connections. (September)
- All-Industry Town Hall: To better connect with members and attract potential members, AAHP reviewed 100 responses received through a survey with GMPs as the top concern followed by regulatory issues. Attendees gave high satisfaction marks and news was picked up by the trade media. (June)
- Annual and Semiannual Membership Meetings
We welcomed to the Board of Directors this year Paul Sprankle of Washington Homeopathic Products. We also welcomed Aphena Pharma Solutions and a number of individual members.
Thanks to the Volunteers
In addition to monthly meetings, the Board of Directors took time for an annual retreat to delve deeper into how to serve the industry. The Legal & Regulatory Committee met roughly every two to three weeks for 19 meetings this year. The Communications Committee published the newsletter monthly and highlighted that news in about 20 social media posts each month on Facebook and LinkedIn, as correct inaccuracy in the media. The Budget and Finance Committee kept us on track. The Business Development Committee continues to reach out to potential members. For help with much of this, we thank our association management firm, The Markens Group, and consultants Ted Peterson, Pete Evich, and Al Lorman.