Industry Backs High Quality Medicines Supported by Good Evidence

22 March 2013

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22 March 2013 - With two out of three Australians using complementary medicines, it is no surprise that this topic was explored on the premiere of "The Checkout" (21 March).

It is a pivotal time for the complementary medicines sector, with the regulation of complementary medicines currently undergoing one of the biggest reviews by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). A key focus area is the type of evidence required to support Listed complementary medicines.

The Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) - the industry body representing over-the-counter and complementary medicines - believes high standards for the regulation of complementary medicines are already in place. At the same time, we support any action by the TGA to ensure these are enforced in a more effective and timely manner.

According to Dr Deon Schoombie, Executive Director of ASMI:
"Complementary medicines have a legitimate role to play in Australia's healthcare system, particularly in minor ailments and preventative health. All complementary medicines, whether Listed or Registered, are rigorously controlled for safety and quality. They must only be produced by TGA-approved manufacturers, and only from ingredients accepted as low-risk by the TGA.

"Unfortunately there have been a number of questionable products without appropriate evidence in recent years which have undermined consumer confidence and also damaged the industry.

"Currently, the process for dealing with companies that make unsupported claims is slow, cumbersome and ineffective. The system requires genuine reform so that consumers have adequate information about evidence and health claims for medicines. ASMI advocates for minimum effective regulation which is commensurate with risk, listable medicines being at the lower end of the risk
spectrum, as well as effective measures to ensure compliance."