Peak body for non-prescription medicines in Australia, the Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI), has moved to warn consumers that only complementary medicines approved for supply in Australia should be purchased.
The ASMI warning comes after a West Australian man came close to death after taking a complementary medicine weight loss product – with green tea extract thought to be the culprit.
Steven Scarff, ASMI Director of Regulatory and Scientific Affairs said: “Australia’s system of regulating complementary medicines is one of the most rigorous in the world.”
“In Australia, there are strict controls over manufacturing standards for complementary medicines to assure the safety and quality of the medicines. There are also strict controls over the ingredients in complementary medicines and only those ingredients already approved by the TGA can be used,” he added.
Mr Scarff explained that complementary medicines can only be legally supplied in Australia when the TGA’s unique identifying number has been included on the label. This unique number is preceded by an AUST L or AUST R, depending on its regulatory classification.
In addition, sponsors of products with an AUST L or AUST R number are required to hold evidence justifying the therapeutic for the claims they make.
“Consumers are reminded to only purchase complementary medicines in Australia, where they are well regulated, and not online from overseas.”
“The presence of an AUST L or AUST R number is an important safeguard. If consumers want more information about a medicine they are able to use the unique identifying number to look up the product on the TGA’s database – the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG).”