18th November,1999

Tanaiste Announces 43 New Jobs at Lichtwer Pharma GMBH
& Dr. Willmar Schwabe in Cork

Elisa Partnership
Co Cork

Mary Harney, Tanaiste & Minister for Enterprise, trade and Employment, announced today Wed 5th November 1997 that a new herbal extract facility is to be established at Ringaskiddy, Co Cork leading to the creation of 43 new jobs.
The facility is a joint venture involving two German companies- Dr. Willmar Schwabe GMBH & Co and Lichtwer Pharma GMBH. In an IR£10.5million joint venture with IDA Ireland support, the new facility will extract the active ingredients from the St. John's Wort plant. This plant-derived medicine is an established treatment for depression. It is available as a prescription product and also through health food outlets.
The world market for anti depressants is dominated by synthetic drugs but the markets are also supplied by companies such as Dr.Willmar Schwabe GMBH & Co. and Lichtwer Pharma GMBH, with medicines derived from natural plant-derived substances including an extract from the St. John's Wort plant.
(IDA Press Release November '97)

Open Letter to the Minister of Health and Children

Dear Minister

Regarding St. John's Wort, we have recently been in touch with the Irish Medicines Board and with your Department of health and Children and have asked them some questions, which they seem unable to answer so perhaps you might be able to help us.
We know there are nine members on the Irish Medicines Board but what are their qualifications and who do they work for in the private sector?
Who funds the Irish Medicines Board?
Why is Ireland the only country in the EU to insist on putting St.John'S Wort on prescription?
Has the decision to prescribe St.John's Wort anything to do with a pharmaceutical plant in Ringaskiddy, which is about to go into the production of St John's Wort extract?

We look foreward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience

Yours faithfully
Michael O'Hanlon