Alarming health claims must not appear on complementary medicine: RACGP President

Bastian Seidel

9/02/2018 3:45:32 PM

Many of the items included on the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s list of ‘permitted indications’ make unfounded and unscientific claims that could lead to patient harms, RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel writes for newsGP.

Dr Bastian Seidel is calling on the TGA to make disclaimers mandatory on all traditional complementary medicines.
Dr Bastian Seidel is calling on the TGA to make disclaimers mandatory on all traditional complementary medicines.

Tonifies kidney essence.
Opens body orifices.
Replenishes gate of vitality.
Release exterior.
These are some of the claims that could appear on complementary medicine labels on the list of ‘permitted indications’ if the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) bill is passed. The list itself contains more than 1000 such claims and, to be honest, I have no idea what most of them mean.
The vast majority of these claims have no evidence. At best, they are extremely misleading; at worst, they could lead to significant harm for patients.
The list of permitted indications is designed to ensure companies that produce vitamin and herbal medicine make only government-approved health claims, and the TGA should not be endorsing the kind of pseudoscience that claims a medicine can ‘harmonise middle burner’.
The TGA needs to help ensure patient safety and protect people from misleading – and even outright dangerous – claims that steer people away from evidence-based treatment options.
The RACGP has long called for the TGA to make disclaimers mandatory on all traditional complementary medicines, to make it explicit that they are ‘not accepted by most modern medical experts’ and ‘there is no good scientific evidence that this product works’.
I reiterate that call now. The health of patients all around Australia may depend on it.

complementary-medicine permitted-indications TGA Therapeutic-Goods-Administration

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Dr Suganthi Thangaraju   13/02/2018 10:30:05 AM

I strongly agree, it is no place for advertising and making profit at the expense of our people health. Lot of complimentary products need clear indications as per evidence. Female Pt who has taken few supplements all have lead to Menorrhagia.

Oliver Frank   13/02/2018 11:42:35 AM

The TGA has just made a laughing stock of itself. How embarrassing for Australia.

Dale   13/02/2018 12:05:52 PM

I think the naturopathic medications are a joke anyway, but what about the claims that OxyContin is the solution to chronic pain with lovely pictures of people playing golf... that’s misleading. The truth is if we fool ourselves to believe that “our medicine” is not for profit then we are deluded. Companies get rich while patients continue to suffer and develop addiction that we cannot really fix. OxyContin and opioids have cause a lot more harm the vitamin infusions I reckon.

Philip Dawson   13/02/2018 4:25:23 PM

Very amusing, who is going to buy a substance that "opens body orifices"?
Onions do quite a good job of that!
But there seems to be already too much hot air about, especially in the TGA!

Richard Smith   25/05/2018 2:49:58 PM

Replace the TGA staff with doctors and scientists.....just think of how the health of the nation would improve and the diversion of money into better health outcomes !