Australian complementary medicines are regulated at internationally high standards, says CMA in response to recent criticisms from “fringe groups”
Complementary medicines in Australia are regulated to the highest standards in the world and more strictly than products from the USA and even the UK, says Carl Gibson, CEO of Complementary Medicines Australia.
Mr Gibson was responding to recent comments by well-known CAM critic Dr Ken Harvey, who said the Therapeutic Goods Administration was doing a “terrible job on complementary medicines labelled (AUST L) which they use as a cash cow without providing commensurate regulation or consumer protection”.
Dr Harvey was reacting to the first AUST L(A) listing to be given to a herbal complementary medicine – Caruso’s Prostate EZE Max.
“Whether registered or listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG), Australian complementary medicines are manufactured to pharmaceutical standards in approved licensed facilities,” Mr Gibson wrote in a letter sent to AJP.
“Medicines are manufactured following good manufacturing practice (GMP); products meet the strict guidelines set by the TGA”.
“The industry, the CMA and the TGA work together to promote the appropriate regulation and advancement for our world-class sector, one that supports a growing number of jobs nationally and internationally”.
“Over seven out of 10 Australians choose complementary medicines as part of their healthcare routine, and these are an important part of the service provided to consumers by pharmacies.
With changes to the classification of complementary medicines that require even more significant evidence to support claims, consumers can feel more confident than ever,” Mr Gibson said.
The recently introduced Aust-Listed (Assessed) pathway ensured that medicines that carry this on their label are “‘assessed’ for efficacy”, he said.
“They have had their health claims assessed extensively by the medicines regulator. The TGA examines and evaluates the presented evidence in detail before approving this classification. Because of this due diligence, consumers can be assured that extensive data support the indications made on the label”.
However, despite its success, the complementary medicines industry in Australia has a “small group of vocal critics”, Mr Gibson said.
“The detractors repeatedly called for more evidence to support complementary medicines. Now that the TGA has responded by introducing the Aust-Listed (Assessed), the anti-complementary medicines fringe group is attacking the new registration pathway, and trying to undermine evidence based complementary medicines.
So on one hand they call for more evidence and on the other they dismiss the evidence,” he said.
“In a recent editorial in AJP, the critics criticised the Aust L (Assessed) pathway. It is clear that they did not have access to the detailed evidence collated and submitted to the TGA to support high-level.
By doubting the experts at the TGA, the anti-complementary lobby is undermining this important pathway to the detriment of Australia’s innovative companies investing in evidence-based research. This fringe group may be Friends of Science; but they are strangers to facts”.
“Our quality control is world-class. Our reputation relies on it,” he said.