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Labelling therapeutic goods 'drug free'

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M edia Release

ACN: 008 532 072 Pharmaceutical Society of Australia


PSA - the professional group representing pharmacists - said today that therapeutic products like herbal medicines and vitamins should not be described as ‘drug free’. It said it would argue this case to the committee of stakeholders examining this issue.

Commenting on yesterday’s Senate disallowance of a regulation to prohibit such products from being so represented, PSA National President, Tony Nunan, said labelling herbal medicines and vitamins as ‘drug free’ could mislead consumers.

“These products have pharmacological effects on the body, including occasional undesirable side effects and toxicities, as can scheduled pharmaceuticals.”

“The fact that many are derived from natural sources has led to a public perception that complementary medicines have no potential to induce adverse effects.”

“It has been estimated that more than 50% of Australians use complementary or alternative medicines, and PSA acknowledges the right of consumers to use such products.”

“Clearly, the legislative change desired by the Government does not impact on consumer access to such products. It is an advance in the regulatory and monitoring processes undertaken in the interests of public safety.”

Mr Nunan said yesterday’s PSA National Council meeting in Canberra strongly supported the legislative change proposed by the Government - but now disallowed by the Senate - which would have prohibited such labelling or representation.

He said PSA would make strong representations along these lines to the special committee of stakeholders examining whether the term ‘drug free’ was appropriate when advertising such products.

Contact: Tony Nunan - PSA National President 0414 910 437 Or 0417 219036

1 April 1998

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