Opinion

Unfounded and unscientific claims have no place in legitimate healthcare


Bastian Seidel


15/02/2018 3:31:17 PM

RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel expresses his dismay at news of the approval of the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s list of ‘permitted indications’.

Dr Seidel believes the TGA ‘should not be endorsing the kind of pseudoscience that claims a medicine can “harmonise middle burner”.’
Dr Seidel believes the TGA ‘should not be endorsing the kind of pseudoscience that claims a medicine can “harmonise middle burner”.’

News that the Senate has approved the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s (TGA) list of ‘permitted indications’ for complementary medicines makes a mockery of reputable, evidence-based medicine.
 
As I wrote last week, phrases such as ‘moistens dryness in the triple burner’, ‘replenishes gate of vitality’ and ‘softens hardness’ have no place in any genuine healthcare situation. These types of claims are extremely misleading and could lead to significant harm for patients.
 
The list of permitted indications is supposed to ensure producers of vitamins and herbal medicines make only government-approved health claims. The passing of the Therapeutic Goods Amendment (2017 Measures No. 1) Bill 2017 and Therapeutic Goods (Charges) Amendment Bill 2017 – allowing companies to claim a product can, for example, ‘replenish essence’ – is nothing short of a tacit endorsement of pseudoscience.
 
With the passing of this bill, it is more important than ever that the TGA heed the RACGP’s calls for mandatory disclaimers on all traditional complementary medicines, making it explicit that they are ‘not accepted by most modern medical experts’ and ‘there is no good scientific evidence that this product works’.
 
The Earth is not flat and, in the year 2018, snake oils that ‘soothe liver Qi’ are not a substitute for real medicine. 



complementary-medicine permitted-indications Therapeutic-Goods-Administration



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Arnold Dela Cruz   15/02/2018 5:11:53 PM

Hopefully the TGA heed the college's call.
More could be done, as the public would probably just ignore the disclaimer.
Education is the key. Inform the public.
Discourage celebrities from endorsing products that are of no scientific value or evidence.
Spend more on preventive measures , encourage healthy lifestyle changes .


Vanessa Sellick   15/02/2018 9:13:12 PM

So will the RACGP also stand with Australian families calling for warning labels on asthma med Montelukast (Singulair), which has life threatening neuropsychiatric side effects which HAVE been supported in published research?


Neville Ludbey   16/02/2018 8:12:06 AM

These changes have the 'odour' of kickback or bribery, how else could the 'sentinels' of quality introduce such damaging 'permitted indications' for snake oil products.


James Barry   16/02/2018 8:15:50 AM

Does the TGA acronym mean Totally Gormless Activists?


Chris Rook   16/02/2018 10:30:27 AM

Well said, Bastian. The world seems to be accelerating away from the principles of the enlightenment!


Simon Taylor   16/02/2018 12:49:43 PM

Spot on. The trouble I think is that some of the loony Commonwealth bureaucrats have no scientific or health background and support this sort of rubbish.


Moyez Jiwa   16/02/2018 4:37:30 PM

Couldn’t agree more Bastian.


Jason Fallon   17/02/2018 12:32:49 AM

The centuries old battle of science versus superstition endures. It's important for the scientific community to continue to dispel this quackery and mumbo-jumbo. People have never been better educated but appear none the wiser!


Chris Kear   19/02/2018 11:01:42 AM

It's a pity it took Dr Seidel so long to come up with this statement. I wonder what issues were placed above it, and why? The TGA listings should have been reported on, in the media, as soon as they appeared, for maximum public impact. The delay smacks of political manoeuvring.


Richard Smith   25/05/2018 2:52:16 PM

Perhaps the RACGP could set up the Australian Medicine Consumers Association ?


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