Dear Patients, Facebook Friends and Members of the Public
My professional Association had issued this statement. What it means, that in Australia all natural medicine practitioners will treat their patients with the “practitioner’s only “supplements dispensed only by that practitioner and subject to a consultation. During duration of treatment with a naturopath or other natural medicine practitioner, patient can not take any over the counter, over internet and other supplements, which are not TGA registered. This is to ensure that any idiosyncratic reaction to one or more ingredients from non- TGA registered supplements will not occur.
You may have seen recent media reports regarding a tragic outcome for an individual taking food supplements purchased online, in circumstances that seem to include an unusual and idiosyncratic reaction to one or more ingredients. As the product in question does not seem to be a Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) listed product, there is some uncertainty over the ingredients.
The recurring issue raised by these reports is that purchasing products over the counter or online can result in significant risks to clients.
In this instance, the media reports highlight the significant gap in the therapeutic goods regulations between foods and medicines. There are many foods on the market that are making what are interpreted by the public as therapeutic claims, yet don’t get captured in the therapeutic goods regulations. This means they avoid having to comply with those requirements, including the basic safety requirements that protect the public.
In the view of my professional association Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS), more collaborative work needs to be done by the TGA and Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) to close this gap.
ATMS strongly believes that the practitioner is central to good natural medicine, and quality control is best effected through practitioner only product (POP). Further, safe traditional-medicine practice is best delivered following a quality consultation with an accredited practitioner. It is this consultation process that provides effective prescribing of natural remedies.
We’d like to reinforce our support for our community of members who practice safe and effective ingestive traditional-medicine and are obligated to remind you all to ensure you follow Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) guidelines when prescribing herbs to protect your clients.