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Expert Committee on Complementary Medicines in the Health System
The supply of safe, high quality and efficacious complementary medicines, the quality use of and timely access to these medicines and the maintenance of a responsible and viable complementary medicines industry are important objectives for Governments, healthcare practitioners, consumers and industry.
In April 2003, the Therapeutic Goods Administration initiated the recall of more than 1600 complementary medicines from the Australian marketplace. It was the largest recall of medicines in Australia and heightened interest in complementary medicines. The recall was a result of the failure of one medicine manufacturer to maintain appropriate manufacturing and quality control standards.
Following the recall, consumer groups, health professionals, researchers and practitioners raised concerns regarding the level of trust that can be placed in complementary medicines. These concerns included doubts about the reliance consumers may have in the information available about complementary medicines and confidence in their effectiveness. The role of complementary healthcare practitioners also came under scrutiny. The level of education and training of practitioners, lack of qualification and registration requirements, and the variability of regulation across jurisdictions, raised questions about the extent to which the community can depend on their expertise and advice.
In May 2003, to reassure the public and maintain confidence in Australia's reputation as a supplier of high quality and safe medicines, the Australian Government established the Expert Committee on Complementary Medicines in the Health System (the Expert Committee).
The Expert Committee was asked to consider the regulatory, health system and industry structures necessary to ensure that the central objectives of the National Medicines Policy are met in relation to complementary medicines.
The Expert Committee was also asked to examine and provide advice on:
- The national system of regulatory controls required to ensure that complementary medicines meet appropriate standards of quality, safety and efficacy;
- The information needs of consumers of complementary medicines;
- The education, training, and regulation requirements for healthcare practitioners who are supplying complementary medicines and/or providing advice or delivering care to consumers of complementary medicines;
- The potential for interaction between complementary medicines and prescribed medicines used by consumers and the means to provide this information to healthcare practitioners;
- The nature and extent of restrictions required on advertising (including internet advertising) of complementary medicines to consumers; and
- The regulatory and industry activities necessary to promote an innovative, responsible and viable complementary medicines industry in Australia.
Members of the Expert Committee were selected on the basis of their expertise in various areas of complementary medicine, not as representatives of stakeholder groups.
The Government decision to include these members in the Expert Committee was made on the basis that they were considered to have the appropriate depth and breadth of expertise to consider matters under the Expert Committee's terms of reference.
The names of members of the Expert Committee, their affiliation and expertise are listed in the following table:
|Dr Michael Bollen (Chair)||Former member of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)
Principal, BMP Healthcare Consulting Pty Ltd
|Quality use of medicines, healthcare delivery, consumer medicines information and general medical practice|
|Dr John Aloizos||Chair, Australian Pharmaceutical Advisory Council (APAC)||Implementation of all aspects of National Medicines Policy and general medical practice|
|Associate Professor Alan Bensoussan||Centre for Complementary Medicine Research, University of Western Sydney
Member, Expert Advisory Panel to Complementary Medicines Evaluation Committee (CMEC)
|Use and evaluation of complementary medicines and therapies in clinical practice; practitioner education and training|
|Dr Kerry Breen||Chair, NHMRC Australian Health Ethics Committee||Ethical issues associated with the promotion and use of medicines|
|Professor Terry Campbell||Head, UNSW Department of Medicine, St Vincent's Clinical School, Sydney
Member, Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC)
|Mr Philip Daffy||Consultant to the complementary medicines industry, including the Complementary Healthcare Council of Australia (CHC)||Product development complementary medicines|
|Dr Paul Dugdale||Chief Health Officer,
ACT Department of Health
|State and Territory issues associated with practitioner regulation, regulation of dispensed and extemporaneously compounded complementary medicines|
|Associate Professor John Eden||University of New South Wales,
School of Women's and Children's Health
|Use of complementary medicines and therapies in medical practice, particularly in women's health|
|Mr Ross Johnston||Vice President Manufacturing Operations Asia Pacific, Wyeth||Quality assurance in the manufacture of complementary, OTC and prescription medicines|
|Professor Alastair MacLennan||Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Adelaide||Complementary medicine epidemiology and safety of complementary medicines|
|Mr David McLeod||Naturopath, Fellow with the Australian acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association||Use of complementary medicines in complementary medicine practice; practitioner education and training|
|Professor Stephen Myers||Director, Australian Centre for Complementary Medicine Education and Research, Southern Cross University/University of Queensland, Member of CMEC||Use and evaluation of complementary medicines in medical practice; practitioner education and training|
|Mr Anthony Nunan||Principal - Parade Pharmacy; Nunan's Watsonia Pharmacy; Heath's Road Medical Clinic Pharmacy
Chairman - Australian Medicines Handbook
|Small business issues; quality use of medicines; postgraduate pharmacist education and training; pharmacy|
|Ms Juliet Seifert||Executive Director,
Australian Self-Medication Industry (ASMI)
|Quality use of medicines and industry issues, including complementary medicines|
|Associate Professor Anne Tonkin||Department of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology University of Adelaide,
Former Chair of CMEC
|Evaluation of efficacy and clinical pharmacology, medical education|
|Mr Darin Walters||Chief Executive Officer,
|Complementary medicines industry|
|Professor Bill Webster||Head, Department of Anatomy and Histology, University of Sydney
Member of CMEC
|Toxicology and the safety of complementary medicines|
|Associate Professor Heather Yeatman||Head, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Wollongong
Member of CMEC
Member, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Board
|Consumer issues associated with the use of complementary medicines, food and nutrition|
These links are to media releases on the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing website <http://www.health.gov.au>.
- Australian Government supports reform for complementary medicines
9 March 2005
- Government moves to restore confidence in complementary medicines industry
31 October 2003
- Final list of members for Expert Committee on Complementary Medicines
27 May 2003
- Expert Committee members and terms of reference announced on complementary medicines in health system
15 May 2003
- Expert Committee to examine complementary medicines in health system
12 May 2003