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Verdict: Turkish leeches do not grow up as medicines


Federal Administrative Court overturns strict entry regulations for Bavaria
Turkish leeches don't grow up as medicines. To this end, they are only through a quarantine and microbiological controls in Germany lasting several months, ruled on Thursday, August 17, 2017, by the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig (file number: 3 C 12.16). Neither an import permit nor a certificate according to the Medicinal Products Act is required for the import.

Leeches have been used in medicine for centuries, especially in the past for bloodletting. Among other things, their saliva is thought to have an anti-inflammatory and anticoagulant effect, for example in the case of arthrosis or rheumatism. The Mediterranean medicinal leech is mainly used. The ringworms, which are up to ten centimeters long, feed on the blood of fish, newts and frogs, and in some cases also on mammals, such as wild boars.

Before the Federal Administrative Court, it was about a company from Bavaria that sells leeches for use in medicine. They grow up wild in Turkey, are caught and then exported to Germany.

For the import, the Free State of Bavaria asked an enterprise for an import license including a quality certificate in accordance with the Medicines Act. This prescribes corresponding evidence for the import of medicinal products from non-EU countries.

In response to the company's complaint, however, the Federal Administrative Court made it clear that the bloodsuckers are not yet medicinal products when crossing the border. Because in Germany there is a "substantial further processing", namely the quarantine and microbiological monitoring for several months. Therefore, the leeches may enter without the papers required by Bavaria. mwo / fle

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