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Experts gathering to discuss tapping into $40-$50 billion natural products market

CHAPEL HILL -- How North Carolina and especially its agricultural communities can tap into the U.S. natural medicinal products market a $40 billion to $50 billion industry -- will be the topic of discussion Monday (Sept. 30) as several hundred experts gather for a conference at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The daylong meeting, the first of its kind for the state and among the first in the country, will begin at 8 a.m. at the William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education.

Among distinguished speakers at the North Carolina Summit on Natural Medicinal Products will be Valeria L. Lee, president of the GoldenLEAF Foundation, Dr. Jeffrey L. Houpt, vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the UNC School of Medicine, and Dr. James B. Oblinger, dean of the N.C. State University School of Agriculture & Life Sciences. Joe and Terry Graedon of "The People's Pharmacy," which originates from WUNC-FM, also will speak.

"We'll be discussing how to develop and market natural medicinal products that are marketable and at the same time safe and effective," said Dr. John B. Longenecker, director of UNC's Institute of Nutrition and summit chair. "GoldenLEAF: Long-term Economic Advancement Foundation Inc., which received a large share of the state's part of the tobacco settlement, is promoting economic programs that farming communities can use to supplement or replace income previously derived from tobacco production.

"We see our role as helping them succeed in this effort by combining sound economics, agricultural and medical science to ensure any products we promote will not only be economically feasible but also clinically important for public health," he said.

Among scientists attending will be health experts from the UNC schools of public health and medicine and agricultural specialists from N.C. State University, which maintains experimental projects designed to determine the most efficient ways of growing medicinal her
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Contact: David Williamson
919-962-8596
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
27-Sep-2002


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