Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Therapeutic Goods Administration Challenged to Do Its Job

By Mal Vickers

Despite a number of reforms, the TGA’s system of labelling therapeutic goods confuses consumers and its complaints resolution process fails to deter repeat offenders.

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The complementary industry’s regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), came under pressure at the 2018 Australian Public Health Conference held in Cairns. During a panel session on “Contested Policy: Complementary Medicines and Advertising Reform” John Skerritt, Deputy Secretary for Health Products Regulation in the federal Department of Health (which oversees the TGA), promoted reforms that the TGA had recently or was about to implement. These include the triaging of advertising complaints, increased investigation and enforcement powers, the new permitted indications scheme, and the proposed AUST L(A) product category. The latter is a new label for complementary medicines that have submitted clinical trial data to the TGA and been assessed to work.

Among these announcements was news that the TGA was finally carrying out a review of gummy supplements, a confectionery product promoted to parents as “gummy vitamins that are packed with healthy nutrition”. The first advertising breach for “Kids Smart Vita Gummies” is dated 2012.

Monash University researcher Alanna Rottler presented a survey of consumer knowledge of the TGA and the regulation of medicines. Ninety-one per cent of the 273 respondents could not make an informed choice about therapeutic goods using the existing AUST-L and AUST-R labels because they had not noticed these small-print...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.