Quality control of Australia’s complementary medicines industry

Australia has a very lucrative ‘complementary medicines’ export industry worth around $A1.2 billion and promoted as being ‘Made in Australia’ using a distinctive logo.
The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration defines ‘complementary medicines’ (known as supplements in other countries) as vitamins and minerals, fish oil, Western herbal medicine, Chinese traditional medicines, Ayurveda (Indian) medicines, indigenous medicines, homeopathic medicines, probiotics and aromatherapy products.
A recent Federal court case ruled that encapsulation in Australia of imported fish oil (from Chile) and Vitamin D (from China) did not qualify for the ‘Made in Australia’ logo as mere encapsulation did not represent ‘substantial transformation’ of a product as required under Australian Competition and Consumer Guidelines.

The industry then lobbied the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology to water-down the ‘‘substantial transformation’ hurdle arguing that the ‘Made in Australia’ logo is a key marketing element for many overseas markets, particularly China.
In response, the Minister set up a Complementary Medicine Taskforce to review the industry demand. Minister Andrews said,  “The Morrison Government is committed to helping local industry tap into our export markets, and ensuring our business community has opportunities to sell more products overseas.”

HAIAP member Dr Ken Harvey has shared a presentation he made to the taskforce. In the presentation he explained the perspectives of a number of Australian and international organisations, including HAIAP, that support his submission that the ‘Made in Australia’ guidelines should not be watered-down as industry demands.
Read the details in Ken’s presentation here and more background at http://www.medreach.com.au/?p=3310
It remains to be seen what the Taskforce will recommend to the Minister.

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