The TGA is presently reviewing the regulation of ‘low risk’ complementary medicines (vitamins, minerals, homeopathic & aromatherapy products).
But first a bit of background...
As part of the Department of Health, the TGA safeguards and enhances the health of the Australian community through effective and timely regulation of therapeutic goods. Therapeutic goods include prescription medicines, vaccines, sunscreens, vitamins and minerals, medical devices and blood and blood products; The TGA is responsible for regulating the supply, import, export, manufacture and advertising of all therapeutic goods in Australia.
In relation to homeopathic products, the TGA bases its preferred option to declare them ‘non therapeutic goods’ (and hence deregulate them) on the basis of the flawed 2nd 2015 NHMRC homeopathy report presently before an ombudsman due to complaints of bias & misconduct in research; while ignoring all other evidence and consumer and stakeholder opposition.
The 1st 2012 homeopathy review was buried, its findings, cost and very existence kept secret…
The NHMRC is Australia's premier public institution responsible for informing the community on matters relating to health. Its mission is, "Working to build a healthy Australia". The NHMRC, as a tax-payer funded institution, has a duty to the public to ethically, impartially and accurately inform it of evidence to support our healthcare choices.
Around 70% of Australians use some form of complementary medicine service and/or product each year to complement their healthcare needs. Between 2005 and 2015, the NHMRC spent only $2.3 million (0.03%) on complementary medicine research and over $6.7 billion on research into conventional medicine - despite 2 in 3 Australians use complementary medicine services and products.
In 2016 The Review of the Australian Government Rebate on Private Health Insurance for Natural Therapies (the 'Natural Therapies Review'), published - conducted by the NHMRC on behalf of the Department of Health, the NTR determine whether or not natural therapies should continue to attract the Australian Government Rebate on private health insurance.
Natural Therapies Review includes popular, widely used modalities such as naturopathy, herbal medicine, yoga, pilates, tai chi, massage (all forms), homeopathy, aromatherapy, Ayurvedic medicine, kinesiology, reflexology, Bowen therapy and others.
The NHMRC reviews concluded there was no 'reliable' or 'clear' evidence that any of the 17 natural therapies assessed were effective - contrary to the experience of the millions, 2 out of 3, Australians that have used these therapies; and inconsistent with the growing body of good quality, positive research underpinning these therapies.
In the 2016 Natural Therapies review, NO original research papers were retrieved or assessed.
What does this mean?
Basically the 2 out of 3 Australians who use some form of complementary medicine are being ignored by the health department and will be left unprotected by the TGA if the proposed deregulation of ‘low risk’ complementary medicines (vitamins, minerals, homeopathic & aromatherapy) products are made.
The deregulation of essential oils means what?
It would mean the manufacturers of everyday essential oils used by millions of Australians (including Tea Tree oil) will be unable to state what purpose the oils can be used for – only general relaxation style claims would be allowed.
Control over manufacturing quality and post market surveillance of adverse events would be abandoned – placing public safety at risk…
If adopted, the deregulation of essential oils would also have a major impact on Australian export markets, resulting in job losses and lower quality products flooding the market having a devastating effect on the aromatherapy industry in Australia.
Deregulation of essential oils will mean our communities will be denied access to high quality essential oil products for everyday ailments.
What can you do?
SIGN UP to YOUR HEALTH YOUR CHOICE Via the YHYC campaign, the natural medicines sector is liaising with the Health portfolio and Minister to ensure TGA listens to industry, practitioners and consumers to maintains the current regulatory status as at present 2 out of 3 Australians are being ignored.
EDUCATE - contact the companies and people you purchase your essential oils from to ask them what they are doing about this and how you as a consumer will be effected when deregulation takes place.
SPREAD THE WORD - to your customers, friends and family to inform them of what is going on in Australian right now under our noses. 2 out of 3 Australians is extremely powerful and we will be listened to when our energies are directed into the right channels which is the YOUR HEALTH YOUR CHOICE campaign.
Concluding on a positive note – thanks to the YOUR HEALTH YOUR CHOICE campaign popular natural treatments used to manage hay fever, stress, insomnia, joint aches, teething, and other medical conditions continue to be sold in pharmacies. The King Review which suggested banning homeopathic products and placing restrictions on the sale of other complementary medicine products in pharmacies was thrown out due to the 80,000 consumer protests voices heard via the YHYC campaign.
What you want matters so make sure your voice is heard!
Skilled in unravelling complex patterns of ill health, Sarah Penrose is a qualified, registered and endorsed natural health professional specializing in homeopathic medicine.