Momentum building for reform of switch environment and S3 advertising

12 November 2015

Return to Media Release Index

Momentum is building for reform of the switch environment and Schedule 3 (S3) advertising policy, said presenters and participants at ASMI's annual conference yesterday.

ASMI Chief Executive Officer, Deon Schoombie, said: "ASMI's 2015 conference attracted a distinguished line-up of international and local thought leaders, who put the spotlight on the key drivers of growth for consumer healthcare - cutting-edge product and service innovations, prescription-to-OTC switch, healthcare regulatory reform and 'Big Data', which is being used to better understand and meet the needs of health consumers.

"ASMI shared a 'sample mock ad', demonstrating the proposed consumer communication model it has been advocating for Schedule 3 (S3) products. The advertisement is for a fictitious brand in an existing S3 category that can't be advertised - "Brand FAM" (Famciclovir) for cold sore treatment. 

"We have commissioned the Centre for Health Economics Research and Evaluation (CHERE) at the University of Technology, Sydney to test the impact of this proposed communication approach on consumers, pharmacists and pharmacy assistants," he added.

Switch expert, Dr Natalie Gauld and Alison Van Wyk, from Green Cross Health, discussed changes in New Zealand pharmacy supporting a more innovative prescription-to-OTC down-scheduling environment. They highlighted Australia's more conservative approach to switch, which is holding back innovation in the sector. They stressed the need for regulatory reform in Australia to increase consumer access to medicines and stimulate growth in the consumer healthcare products sector.

Trisha Garrett, from the Therapeutic Goods Administration, provided an update on the latest state of play on the regulatory front and progress on reforms impacting the industry, such as reshaping the Scheduling Policy Framework, deregulation and the Labelling and Packaging Review.

Consumer healthcare expert, Robert Buckeldee from Nielsen Europe, shared clever ways successful global companies in the health and care sector are approaching innovation. He said these companies are stretching their brands and providing a meaningful secondary benefit to consumers. They are also making professional grade experiences mainstream and expanding new usage occasions.

Quantium Director, Tim Trumper, explored the shifts in 'Big Data' and the way companies can leverage it to increase customer engagement and business performance. He said: "A combination of great data and strong analytics delivers powerful insights, enabling companies to deliver against current and predicted customer demands and preferences." 

Robert Lippiatt, Convenor of the Self Care Alliance, said Australia is on the cusp of a generational change in healthcare policy, driven by powerful external forces making governments rethink the way healthcare services are delivered. He explained how this generational change involves putting people in the centre of healthcare service delivery and empowering them to take on more responsibility for their own health and welfare in consultation with health professionals, rather than being passive recipients of health services.

Finally, Dr Mary Hardy, an integrative medicines expert from Georgetown University in the USA, said evidence is increasingly important for verifying the claims made about complementary medicines.  She said research into the efficacy and safety of complementary medicines needs to ask the most useful questions and have the correct design to add to the body of knowledge about them.

ASMI's Conference was followed by its gala Diamond Awards Dinner, which celebrated marketing and sales excellence in the consumer healthcare products industry.