Australia

Regulate our industry fairly, demands complementary medicines industry

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Tony Abbott has pledged to reduce regulatory red tape across a number of industries, including complementary medicines
Tony Abbott has pledged to reduce regulatory red tape across a number of industries, including complementary medicines

Related tags: Complementary medicines, Complementary medicines industry, Regulation

The representative body for the complementary medicines industry has responded to the government’s medicines review by calling for regulation that reflects risk, protects consumers, safeguards quality and promotes industry best practice.

Carl Gibson, chief executive of Complementary Medicines Australia (CMA), said he wasn’t against regulation, as long as regulation was done fairly.

Gibson said: “We promote appropriate industry regulation to ensure consumers have access to complementary medicines of the highest quality. The complementary medicines industry calls for regulation of complementary healthcare products that is appropriate and commensurate with the risk profile of these products​.”

System not commensurate with low risk

In its submission to the government’s expert panel, which is in the process of assessing industry and public views, CMA wrote: “In general, the current regulatory regime for complementary medicines is appropriate, but there are a number of aspects of the current system in Australia that are not commensurate with the low risk posed by complementary medicines​.” 

The association recommended a package of measures, including simplifying the existing regulatory framework, strengthening the regulator with sufficient resources and expertise, cutting regulatory duplication and providing faster access to new substances with mutual recognition of overseas regulators.

It also called for a new registration pathway for low-risk complementary medicines making higher level health claims and a reform of manufacturing standards.

Finding the right regulatory balance

Warning against the excessive removal of regulations, Gibson said: “We don’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water, but we can make the current system work better, faster and cheaper without sacrificing our growing export market​.

This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to shape the regulatory framework for the future. We are advocating a ‘light touch, right touch’—not a soft-touch—approach to regulatory reform​. 

Our package of recommendations is commensurate with the level of risk, will safeguard consumers and promote best practice in a growing and thriving industry that makes a real difference to the preventative healthcare agenda​.”

Related topics: Policy, Food safety, Oceania, Supplements

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