ASMI welcomes NHMRC Complementary Medicine resource for clinicians

10 April 2014

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10 April 2014 - The Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) said that it welcomes the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) resource for clinicians: Talking with your patients about Complementary Medicine.

The NHMRC published the resource to help clinicians discuss Complementary Medicine (CM) use with their patients. It provides ideas about initiating a conversation about CM use; discussing the evidence and effectiveness of CM, and discussing the potential risks of CM use. It also provides background information on the use and regulation of CM in Australia, and provides additional resources for clinicians and their patients.

Steve Scarff, ASMI Director of Regulatory and Scientific Affairs, said: "ASMI considers the availability of a resource for clinicians to help them discuss CM use with patients is a valuable way to better equip patients to make informed decisions about their health care. It is very important for clinicians to know about their patients' use of CM (as well as other medicines) and that they feel confident discussing them with their patients.
"It is also important that patients feel positive about engaging in a conversation with their clinician and for the clinician to acknowledge the widespread use of CMs and the importance of making an informed decision regarding their use.

"Two in three Australians use CMs, with 46.3% using them in the past day, and 87.4% using both conventional medicines and CMs.1,2 The most commonly used CMs are fish oils and glucosamine.

"ASMI believes that individual health literacy and Self Care are strongly correlated, and fully supports efforts to improve health literacy in the community - we recognise the potential positive impact for consumers as well as healthcare professionals and services.
"Last year ASMI participated in the consultation process conducted by the NHMRC about the CM resource. We are pleased to see that a number of the suggestions ASMI made during the consultation process are reflected in it," said Mr Scarff.

For more information or to arrange a media interview, please contact:
Marie Kelly-Davies
PR Manager, Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI)
P: 9923 9410 M:0408 256 381 E:

About ASMI: The Australian Self-Medication Industry (ASMI) is the peak body representing sponsors of non-prescription medicines - over-the-counter (OTC) and complementary medicines. Its members make up 85 per cent of the $4bn self care market. Membership totals 60 companies and ASMI members employ approximately 17,000 people with exports estimated at $600 million annually. ASMI's mission is to promote better health through responsible self care. This means ensuring that safe and effective self care products are readily available to all Australians at a reasonable cost. ASMI works to encourage responsible use by consumers and an increasing role for cost-effective self-medication products as part of the broad national health strategy (

1. Morgan TK, Williamson M, Pirotta M, Stewart K, Myers SP, Barnes J. A national census of medicines use: a 24-hours snapshot of Australians aged 50 years and older. Med J Aust 2012; 196 (1): 50-53.
2. Therapeutic Goods Regulation: Complementary Medicines, Australian National Audit Office, Available at (accessed 20 August 2013