On Wednesday, 12 February 2020, Complementary Medicines Australia (CMA) proudly hosted the Healthy People, Healthy Future Parliamentary Breakfast at Federal Parliament, Canberra ACT.
Attended by industry executives and allied health groups, CMA's Pre-Budget Submission for a more sustainable health system was the major focus of the addresses delivered by leading industry and research professionals.
The guest of honour, the Health Minister, the Honourable Greg Hunt, said he supported and appreciated the strong working collaboration between the industry, CMA and the government.
Federal Parliament provided the perfect setting to share insights on the current state of Australia's world-class complementary medicines industry and major priorities of the CMA's Pre-Budget Submission 2020-2021.
Welcoming the delegation
CMA's CEO Carl Gibson shared some of the Pre-Budget Submission highlights including:
- Support for the growth of high-quality Australian exports.
- Focus on preventive health to build a sustainable health system.
- Support for investment in complementary medicines research and translation of evidence into clinical practice.
- A health check of the new Regulatory Reform framework to ensure it is fit for purpose for complementary medicines.
Ian Chant – protecting clinical trials and encouraging a healthy future
Ian Chant is the newly elected CMA President, the Managing Director of Aker Biomarine Australia, and former Chair of CMA Export Committee. Ian tasked the CMA with doubling Australian complementary medicines exports – a mission that was achieved – and exports now top $1 billion, equivalent to 20% of all products sold today.
Ian stressed the need to protect clinical trials for complementary medicines, a move that has been warmly welcomed by industry. “Investment in evidence-based complementary medicines will further boost Australia's research base,” he said.
Market exclusivity for new ingredients is important said Ian, this will drive innovation and give consumers access to the latest therapeutic products in the world. And it will continue to put more world-class products on shelves.
Ian encouraged discussion, debate and collaboration on a healthier future for all Australians.
“According to the National Institute of Health and Welfare,” he said, “Australia is facing a national crisis of chronic disease, with 50% of Australians now living with at least one chronic condition. Those with chronic conditions make up nine-tenths of all deaths and a third of all hospitalisations,” reported Ian.
According to the National Health survey, two-thirds of Australian adults and a quarter of Australian children are overweight or obese. These are significant risk factor for diabetes, and the incidence of this chronic condition has tripled in the past 25 years; it now affects 1.2 million Australians.
Ian went on to stress that frequent exercise is crucial in preventing chronic disease, yet only 50% of men and only two in five women meet their weekly requirements. It's no wonder that in just less than a decade, health costs have grown from $5,000 per person to $7,100 per person – an increase of 42%.
“The majority of Australians, 73%, use complementary medicines – the highest recorded numbers ever. The reason? Because they trust our products, our regulatory system and the therapeutic products work for them,” said Ian.
“Our products help people, and we thank the 36,000 natural health practitioners in Australia. We should be proud that together we can make a difference to patients suffering one or more chronic conditions,” he added.
Our industry can get Australians moving by preventing and managing injuries, improving recovery and building lean muscle (particularly important for our seniors) and strengthen peoples’ ability to regulate levels of body fat, lower blood pressure and increase muscle and bone density.
Peter Hurley – encouraging better nutrition via healthy communities`
Peter Hurley, General Manager of Herbalife Nutrition Australia and New Zealand, said: "We are honoured to be recognised as a premier global nutrition company that continues to provide high-quality products to meet the demands of today's market. This achievement would not be possible without the great work of our Members and employees. I am proud to be a part of this amazing industry."
Peter said that many features made Herbalife Nutrition stand out, including the Nutritional Advisory Board (NAB). This global team of nutritional experts provide dietary advice and scientific leadership. He relayed that a representative of the NAB toured Australia on an annual wellness tour of major cities, offering free public talks and the opportunity to share their practical nutritional tips, easy ways to achieve balanced nutrition and ways to incorporate exercise into each day.
Herbalife Nutrition provides ongoing training and support to the company’s Independent Members; this is achieved through regular meetings and sales training sessions held monthly in each state plus downloadable resources on the member website.
The company's sports nutrition brand Herbalife24 demonstrates its commitment to quality assurance. The comprehensive performance nutrition line has been developed to power athletes 24-hours a day. The company is passionate about continuing to take a proactive approach to help people improve their nutritional habits with great-tasting, science-backed nutrition products to help everybody get the right balance of healthy nutrition. He went on to say one of the world's greatest soccer players, Cristiano Ronaldo uses and endorses the products.
While Peter said that the products can help to boost nutrition for the elite athlete and for the regular exercisers, it did not mean that they would impart Ronaldo's incredible soccer skills!
Professor Alan Bensoussan – the work of NICM is to benefit the health of all Australians
Director of NICM Health Research Institute and Lady Cilento Award Recipient, Professor Alan Bensoussan, said that NICM was established with support from the federal and NSW state governments in 2007. He explained that NICM’s role was to provide leadership and support for strategically directed research into complementary medicine.
NICM aims to translate evidence into clinical practice and relevant policy to benefit the health of all Australians. The institute provides leadership and support for strategically directed research into complementary medicine and helps translate evidence into clinical practice and relevant policy to benefit the health of all Australians.
NICM plays a critical national role in ensuring Australians have access to reliable evidence on complementary medicines and treatments in extensive use. It is recognised worldwide for its world-class research and innovations in integrative and complementary medicine.
Health Minister, Greg Hunt: Australia has the best regulated Complementary medicines sector in the world
Introducing the Health Minister, the Honourable Greg Hunt, Carl Gibson stated that the delegation was delighted that he could attend the breakfast meeting since he is also leading the Australian Government response to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Mr Hunt spoke about the strong working association between CMA, TGA and the Government.
He explained that he was involved in pioneering the introduction of the Medicines and Medical Devices Regulatory (MMDR) reforms and launch of the new Natural Therapies Review. He underlined his belief that complementary medicines play an essential role in the preventative health agenda for all Australians.
The Minister for Health also spoke about the Australian Government’s National Preventive Health Strategy which is now underway and forms part of the third pillar of the long-term National Health Plan.
The long-term 10-year plan is formulated to build on strategic work that has already been developed or is currently being drafted. It includes the National Strategic Framework for Chronic Conditions, the National Obesity Strategy and the National Tobacco Strategy.
The aim of the Strategy, said Greg Hunt. was to help Australians improve their health at all stages of life, through early intervention, better information, and targeting modifiable risk factors and the broader causes of poor health.
In closing, the Health Minister said he was proud to work closely with CMA and the TGA to ensure a superior industry. Congratulating Australia's industry sector, Greg Hunt said: "Australia has the best regulated Complementary medicines sector in the world."