Log in
  • PO Box 450 Mawson ACT, 2607 Australia

  • 02 6260 4022

In the news

<< First  < Prev   1   2   3   4   5   Next >  Last >> 
  • 23 Feb 2024 12:19 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has published a safety advisory regarding emerging reports of gastrointestinal symptoms associated with the ingredient Withania somnifera (also known as Ashwagandha). Some consumers experience mild gastrointestinal symptoms to herbal ingredients including Withania. The TGA safety advisory reports that Withania somnifera has caused more severe gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea in some cases and in very rare cases, possible liver injury. 

    To read more, please click here.

  • 05 Feb 2024 5:18 PM | Deleted user

    The case presented by Professor Matthew Kiernan in the Sydney Morning Herald (5 February 2024) highlights the potential dangers of overconsumption of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) supplementation and it is crucial to address these concerns. It is also important to recognise that strict regulatory measures have been implemented by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) to mitigate risks.

    The article incorrectly states that since 2020, the TGA has required Australian manufacturers to display warning statements on vitamin B6 supplements that contain daily doses exceeding 50 milligrams. This warning has been applied to supplemental vitamin B6 for decades because of an association between high doses of vitamin B6 and a reversible sensation of numbness or tingling in the hands or feet in a small number of people; this association has been understood for many years.

    This level of permissible B6 was lowered to 10 milligrams in 2022, indicating the regulatory body's commitment to adapting measures based on emerging concerns.  

    While symptoms such as numbness and tingling do not affect all people who take vitamin B6 supplements, some case studies and research report that these effects, if they occur, are reversible, even after prolonged ingestion of over 20 years.  

    Vitamin B6 plays a vital role in many body processes, and the reasons why some individuals experience effects from vitamin B6 supplementation and others do not still need to be fully understood. Further research is required to determine the extent of this vitamin's role in peripheral neuropathy.  

    Professor Kiernan rightly emphasises the need for increased public awareness, noting that this goes beyond just applying a warning label to a product.  

    Via their consumer update in August 2023, the TGA reminded consumers to check the labels of any B6 (pyridoxine) multivitamin and mineral supplements since if more than one supplement was taken, consumers might be taking more than the daily recommended dose of vitamin B6 and increase the risk of peripheral neuropathy in some people.  

    The TGA and Australia's complementary medicines industry continue to monitor this issue to ensure the safety of consumers of Australian complementary medicines. The TGA's commitment to ongoing monitoring and potential further regulatory actions demonstrates a proactive stance in safeguarding public health.

    Complementary Medicines Australia Chief Executive Officer, John O’Doherty, said: "The TGA's responsiveness should be acknowledged, and efforts should be directed towards improving the dissemination of information to both healthcare professionals and to consumers.”

    Warning labels directly communicate to consumers, providing essential information about potential risks associated with supplement use. Australian complementary medicines (including vitamin and mineral supplements) must comply with strict advertising rules, which require warning statements in all advertising, including print media, radio and television. These statements direct consumers to "ALWAYS READ THE LABEL AND FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS FOR USE."

    "Individuals must read and observe the recommended dosages and associated warnings on the label – these warnings are required to be printed on all applicable Australian complementary medicines,” Mr O’Doherty said.

    "Improvements in warning mechanisms can always be explored and the TGA's existing measures are a commendable initiative. Striking a balance between regulation and personal responsibility is crucial in ensuring the safety of individuals while maintaining access to necessary supplements."

  • 01 Feb 2024 10:09 AM | Deleted user

    In our latest Pre-Budget Submission, CMA advocates that the Government consults with Australia's complementary medicines industry to incorporate the role of complementary medicine in the national preventive health strategy and agenda.

    We urge the Government to:

    1. Consult with the complementary medicines industry to incorporate the role of complementary medicine in the national preventive health strategy and agenda.

    2. Prioritise removing the ban on private health insurance rebates for natural therapies.

    3. Develop industry policies that support the growth of Australian complementary medicine manufacturing, including raw materials.

    4. Increase funding for Austrade to facilitate increased overseas promotion and new export opportunities for Australian complementary medicine products.

    5. Initiate a review by the TGA to address industry concerns related to regulations; this will focus on identifying and reassessing areas of over-regulation and inefficient regulation incommensurate with risk aiming to foster a more balanced regulatory culture with strategies to manage risk, permitting greater innovation and industry growth without compromising safety.

    6. Provide adequate funding for the TGA to undertake all non-cost-recoverable work so that these costs are not passed onto the industry.

    7. Provide additional funding for the Department of Health to undertake positive education campaigns relating to the public health benefits of evidence-based nutritional substances and regulation of complementary medicine products.

    8. Provide more significant support for complementary medicine research through targeted funding and increased research and development incentives.

    Further details on implementing these recommendations are outlined hereCMA Pre Budget Submission 2024-25.pdf

  • 16 Dec 2023 3:37 PM | Deleted user

    The CMA Annual Conference and Awards Industry Dinner on December 2023, was a dynamic event centered around "Strong Sustainable Growth." Participants delved into conversations surrounding economic and business sustainability, with a commitment to environmental stewardship.

    Participants immersed themselves in conversations about economic and business sustainability and a commitment to environmental stewardship. The event encouraged innovative approaches aligned with forward-thinking business practices dedicated to shaping a brighter future for our sector. 

    Sessions Highlights

    Master of Ceremonies Gary Scattergood, Regional Head and Editor-in-Chief of APAC at William Reed, welcomed a diverse and engaged audience. The Welcome to Country was given by Uncle Allan Murray, which set the tone of respect and inclusivity for the proceedings. 

    Welcome from CMA and Gold Sponsor TSI Pharmaceuticals

    John O'Doherty, Chief Executive Officer of Complementary Medicines Australia, and Matt Gowen, Country Sales Manager at TSI Pharmaceuticals, jointly extended a warm welcome, emphasising the significance of industry collaboration.

    Regulatory Update

    Professor Anthony Lawler, Deputy Secretary of the Australian Department of Health, provided a comprehensive regulatory update, offering valuable insights into the evolving regulatory landscape, including new guidance and educational materials to assist sponsors, the 2024 update to Permissible Ingredients Determination and prioritisation of compliance activities for Listed medicines to target specific types of non-compliance and focus resources.

    Keynote Address

    Len Monheit, Executive Director of the Global Prebiotic Association, delivered an inspiring keynote on Global Supplement Insights; key takeaways include what's happening in the prebiotic category, where Australian consumers are when it comes to the microbiome, and how that compares and who are supplement consumers globally, why do they buy and what will they pay more for?

    Securing the Future of Complementary Medicines Manufacturing in Australia

    Emeritus Professor Alan Bensoussan and Professor Dennis Chang from NICM Health Research Institute presented a strategic business case to help ensure the future of complementary medicines manufacturing in Australia. They shared that the CM industry is at a crossroads and that strategic action is needed to avoid losing what we have as we grasp new opportunities to future-proof our strong sector.

    Evolution of Human Nutraceutical Clinical Studies

    Dr Bharahti Bethapudi from Natural Remedies Private Ltd illuminated the evolving landscape of human nutraceutical clinical studies and their benefits. She shared the importance of nutraceutical human efficacy studies to the Aust L market and the evolution and recent advancement in study design and outcomes. 

    Supporting Sustainable Growth – A Case Study

    Deshanie Rai, Vice President of Global and Regulatory Affairs, presented a captivating case study on the clinical and regulatory aspects of Alpinia Galanga Extract, sponsored by OmniActives Health Technologies. She discussed applying sustainable practices during the NPD process, building a research agenda to support consumer health benefits through plant bio-actives and supporting the go-to-market strategy through registrations and versatile delivery formats.

    The Health of the Supplements Industry

    Tanya Kamesh, Research Analyst at Euromonitor International, provided profound insights into the current state and prospects of the supplement industry and its growth and development. She discussed evolving demographics transforming the consumer base and that more sophisticated wellness consumers seek efficacy.

    The Eight Truths of Wellbeing in the Workplace

    Michelle Fernandez, Rise Program Manager at Blackmores, shared inspiring insights into fostering wellbeing in the Workplace. The 8 Truths of Wellbeing in the Workplace with the key takeaways is a case for why we should invest in wellbeing in our organisations, how to evolve your program to boost both performance and engagement in your organisation, and how to measure something intangible like wellbeing in your Workplace. 

    Shaping the Future of Complementary Medicines in Australia

    Rachel Di Leva, Director at Allure Wellness Consulting, discussed opportunities, challenges, and strategies shaping the future of complementary medicines in Australia. Rachel discussed the current state and future outlook of the complementary medicines sector in Australia, opportunities and challenges in the global market, the regulatory framework and standards for complementary medicines in Australia and innovation and collaboration initiatives that are driving the sector forward.

    Sourcing4Good: Transforming Food & Ingredient Systems

    Jessica Ho, Regional Product Manager at Nutra Wellness, presented a visionary talk on transforming food and ingredient systems for the mind, body, and planet, sponsored by Givaudan, enabling the shift to more mindful and planet-friendly health solutions, enabling consumers to achieve their wellbeing goals and driving responsible supply chains.

    Naturopathy and Herbalism in Disaster Management

    Isabel Halse from the National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine explored the crucial role of naturopathy and herbalism in disaster management. Due to climate change, she said, disasters are expected to become more frequent and extreme, creating profound short-term and long-term health impacts. Relaying a descriptive qualitative study examined the experience of 13 Naturopaths and herbalists who responded to the 2022 Northern NSW and SEQ flood events, Isabel stated that this innovative qualitative study established the role and contribution of Naturopaths and Herbalists in disaster response and recovery and detailed the enablers and barriers, preparedness, and adaptability of the professions. 

    The Power of "AND" – System Intervention for Growth, Profit, and Sustainability

    Shane Quinn, CEO of NAQED Pty Ltd, delivered a powerful presentation on deliberate system interventions, underlining that profitability, sustainability and technology must go hand in hand.

    He stated that Innovation is about creating new value from existing resources, and sustainability is creating new value without compromising future resources. Shane described how sustainable Innovation can deliver immediate and inter-generational success for your business if you respond to signals about future resources and implement efficient actions to generate an impact that creates new value now.

    Panel Discussion: Charting a Sustainable Future

    Sally Townsend (Blackmores), Jo Cooper (Sustainability Advantage), and Nick Palousis (2XE) engaged in a thought-provoking panel discussion, expertly hosted by MC Gary Scattergood, on accelerating the adoption of sustainable practices.

    Australian Packaging Covenant Update

    Chris Foley, CEO of the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO), provided an illuminating update on national packaging targets and reforms. The 2025 National Packaging Targets apply to all packaging made, used, and sold in Australia. The Australian government charges APCO to facilitate the delivery of the 2025 targets.

    Gary Scattergood brought the conference to a close, expressing gratitude for the contributions and announcing prize winners. 

  • 04 Dec 2023 2:34 PM | Deleted user
    • CMA is delighted to announce the reappointment of two distinguished industry leaders – Andrew O'Keefe and Nick Mann – to its Board of Directors and to welcome four esteemed new Directors.

    • Interim President

      With over two decades of experience in the complementary medicine and pharmaceutical sectors, Andrew O'Keefe's expertise and leadership are pivotal in steering CMA toward continued success.

      Following the retirement of CMA’s President, Ben Rowe, Andrew has assumed the role of interim President, emphasising his dedication to upholding CMA's values and objectives. Recognising Ben Rowe's significant contributions as CMA President, Andrew O'Keefe expressed, "I am honoured to step into this role and build upon the foundation laid by Ben, ensuring the continued success of CMA."

      Interim Vice President

      Rachel Carter has been appointed interim Vice President, succeeding Paula Hann’s stellar Vice Presidency. Rachel's dedication and experience position her to make significant contributions to the organisation's leadership, further strengthening CMA's commitment to excellence and strategic objectives.

      Innovation and Expansion

      With over three decades of senior leadership experience in sales, marketing, and general management across Australia and Southeast Asia, Nick Mann continues to drive innovation and strategic expansion. His reappointment underscores his commitment to advancing CMA's interests and furthering the growth of Australia's complementary medicines industry.

      Dynamic Focus

      CMA welcomes four new Directors, each bringing diverse perspectives, extensive industry knowledge, and a shared passion for advancing the complementary medicines sector.

    • Gladys Peters, with a wealth of expertise gained over two decades in leading organisations within the over-the-counter medicine, personal and skin care, and food and beverage sectors, brings extensive leadership in consumer healthcare. Her strategic vision will contribute to CMA's ongoing success.

    • Alastair Symington, an accomplished executive, brings a wealth of experience in global markets to the CMA Board. His valuable insights will be crucial in navigating the ever-evolving landscape of complementary medicines, both domestically and overseas.

    • Fiona Scrymgeour, a highly experienced, results-oriented, and innovative Marketing Director, brings a wealth of knowledge and a dedicated commitment to excellence. Her strategic insight will be pivotal in shaping CMA's future endeavours.

    • Natasha Flynn, former CMA Membership Development Manager, joins the board as a dynamic and experienced leader in complementary medicines. Her focus on leadership, innovation, and sustainable growth aligns seamlessly with our vision, demonstrating dedication to fostering a dynamic and progressive industry.

    These appointments join a dynamic, focused Board of Directors with diverse, high-level talent required to support CMA's members best, deliver on the organisation's strategic goals, and propel CMA toward success in its multifaceted mission.

    Expressing his enthusiasm for the new board appointments, CMA CEO John O'Doherty stated, "We warmly welcome these outstanding individuals to the CMA Board, where their diverse backgrounds, extensive experience, and commitment to advancing the complementary medicines industry are invaluable.”

    “Together, we aim to drive industry growth within a framework of best practice regulation, integrating complementary medicines into preventive health policy to ensure the sustained success of CMA. The collective knowledge of our directors positions us to navigate the dynamic landscape of complementary medicines, aligning with our strategic direction and the Healthy People, Healthy Future plan for continued industry excellence."

  • 17 Nov 2023 1:29 PM | Deleted user

    The article in Medical Republic brings attention to a case of lead poisoning in a Canadian woman attributed to Ayurvedic medicine, raising concerns about similar issues with complementary medicines in Australia. The study from the University of Queensland demonstrates that only five reported cases of lead poisoning from complementary medicines in Australia were reported in the 15 years between 2005 and 2020, mostly due to unregistered (illegal) products.



    While addressing the potential health risks of any medicine is essential, it's crucial to acknowledge that in Australia, all legal herbal and nutritional medicines including Ayurvedic products have strict lead limits and are subject to ongoing regulations to ensure that lead does not enter the product supply chain here. 


    Regulated Products and Unregistered, Illegally Imported Products 

    The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) regulates Ayurvedic products in Australia as complementary medicines and has the most robust measures for these products compared to any other country in the world. Ayurvedic medicine, originating in India has a rich history and is globally embraced; many individuals experience benefits from these practices. 


    To prevent risks, the distinction between properly regulated Ayurvedic products and illegally imported ones is critical. In addition to responding to high-risk allegations of non compliance regarding products, theAustralian Government will: gather and use intelligence to identify higher-risk products and trends, share information with other health and law enforcement agencies to enhance understanding of supply chains and usage patterns and target advertising of unapproved products on digital platforms. 


    The TGA's regulatory system also effectively protects public health by addressing potentially dangerous illegal products, as demonstrated by the investigations and warnings on the illegal products mentioned in the article. Since 2008, the TGA has worked with Australian Border Force as part of Operation Pangea to prevent illegal products entering the country and have prevented 307,000 units of unlawfully imported therapeutic goods entering the country. Complementary Medicines Australia has actively supported the TGA in taking actions against illegally imported complementary medicines. 


    Strict Regulatory Limits in Australia 

    Australian-made complementary medicines are committed to quality and safety, adhering to strict legal limits on contaminants. The TGA's regulatory framework ensures that products entered onto the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) meet safety standards and that any adverse events are thoroughly investigated.  


    The TGA requires manufacturers to follow testing procedures for materials including herbs and other ingredients used in Ayurvedic products. The TGA has legal standards that set strict limits on lead and other heavy metals, which are determined by internationally harmonised standards developed by the European Medicines Agency. Although these standards do not apply to herbal medicines in other countries, they do in Australia.Products that do not meet legal safety standards are required to be recalled. 


    Dr Moses incorrectly states in the article that Australian complementary medicines are under no obligation to warn people about potential side effects or drug interactions; this is untrue. Regulated medicines have significant safety reporting requirements and must apply a host of label warning statements where determined necessary by the TGA. Important drug interactions are also mandated to be included on product labels. 


    The TGA regularly inspects manufacturing sites, ensuring compliance with Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) pharmaceutical-level standards, and routinely conducts tests and audits of products within the Australian marketplace to monitor risk and compliance actively; this shows that Australian regulated herbal medicines are safer and more reliable than anywhere in the world. 


    Enhancing Public Awareness 

    While valid concerns are raised by Dr Geraldine Moses including the use of products that are not on the ARTG, it's necessary to consider that the complementary medicine industry, including Ayurvedic products, contributes to overall wellness for many individuals, and that there are safe, regulated products available. Consumers and practitioners must look for products that contain an ‘AUST L’ ‘AUST LA’ or ‘AUST R’ number on the label. 


    Engaging in respectful discussions and ongoing education with clinicians, patients, academia, and industry is essential for understanding the benefits and risks of complementary medicine through best practices and only using regulated products must not be understated. 

  • 13 Nov 2023 5:38 PM | Deleted user

    In response to the article in the Sydney Morning Herald, Do we really need to take supplements? It’s complicated, Complementary Medicines Australia agrees – and respectfully disagrees on several points. 


    Yes, complementary medicines are gaining popularity as consumers seek natural and holistic ways to take control of their health. In Australia, this surge in interest is met with unwavering confidence, thanks to the stringent regulations set by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Through a robust regulatory framework, the TGA ensures that Australian-made complementary medicines adhere to the highest safety, quality, and transparency standards globally.   


    Australian Regulatory Standards  

    Complementary medicines in Australia are held to some of the world's strictest regulatory standards, surpassing those of the USA and the UK. The TGA enforces Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), demonstrating the Department of Health's commitment to upholding the industry's integrity, and requires all medicines to hold evidence supporting the claims that are made. 



    Specific mandatory statements on labels, including advisory statements and an AUST L or AUST R number, signify a product's adherence to the rigorous guidelines set by the Australian government. Products that do not carry these markers fall short of Australian quality standards. Products with an AUST L or AUST R offer consumers an explicit criterion for identifying reliable products. 


    Regular, Rigorous Testing  

    Australian-made complementary medicines undergo frequent and comprehensive testing, ensuring that the ingredients listed on the label align precisely with the medicine's 

    contents. This unwavering commitment to testing guarantees consumers access to well-researched, responsibly formulated, evidence-based, high-quality products. The emphasis on transparency has bolstered consumer confidence in the world-class reputation of Australian products. 


    Understanding Complementary Medicines  

    With the increasing interest in traditional herbs, vitamins, and minerals, there is a 

    growing need for a deeper understanding of complementary medicines. Both consumers and healthcare practitioners, including pharmacists and GPs, benefit from the provision of extensive nutrient and drug interaction databases. These invaluable resources empower practitioners to make informed decisions, fostering a collaborative approach to healthcare, and there is a wealth of information designed to support health professionals as they advise individuals. 


    A Nutritionally Deficient Australia  

    Australia's complementary medicines industry exists to promote good health; thus, we not only understand but promote the fact that there is no substitute for quality, nutritious food – we recommend that people aim to consume the recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals by enjoying a healthy and varied diet. However, Australians do not comply with government recommendations – nine out of 10 adults do not eat the recommended servings of fruit and vegetables. Inadequate intake is consistent across all age groups. Concurrently, intake of discretionary foods (high fat, high sugar, high salt, and alcohol) exceeds the recommended 0-three servings per day – most adults average five to seven servings. 


    The combination of a low intake of nutritionally dense food alongside a high intake of discretionary food that offers minimum quality nutrition (and intake is at the expense of more nutritious food) has resulted in a nutritionally deficient adult population. 


    As the author states, many people need added nutritional support. For example (and to build upon the displayed list), older people, pregnant women, those on restricted diets, those with health challenges and people with increased stress levels can have difficulty obtaining essential nutrients to support health and well-being. 


    Confidence in Australian-Made Products  

    Consumers can place their trust in the safety and quality of Australian-made complementary medicines due to tightly clear warnings, accurate recommendations, contraindications, and carefully monitored therapeutic claims. Meticulous adherence to regulations offers consumers peace of mind regarding the products they integrate into their health routines. 


    Caution with Overseas Purchases  

    While Australian-made products adhere to rigorous standards, the same assurance cannot be extended to products purchased online from overseas, which may be subject to different regulations, necessitating consumer caution. Purchases from reputable retailers or on the recommendation of qualified healthcare professionals are advised to ensure the safety and quality of complementary medicines bought from international or e-commerce sources. 


    Consumer Safety, Product Quality, and Transparency 

    Consumers can access Australian complementary medicines that have adhered to the requirements of a stringent regulatory framework that prioritises consumer safety, product quality, and transparency. Australian-made products are a testament to the country's commitment to excellence in complementary medicine. Their increasing popularity reflects a growing understanding of how these medicines contribute to overall health. 


    By familiarising themselves with the mandatory regulatory standards for complementary medicines, consumers can continue to confidently embrace these products, knowing they are investing in well-researched, responsibly formulated, and evidence-based health solutions. 


  • 17 Aug 2023 12:32 PM | Deleted user

    Media articles are circulating in response to a TGA publication on turmeric and curcumin products, suggesting that the TGA has stated that turmeric may pose a rare risk of liver injury in medicinal dosage forms. The TGA's warning pertains to specific cases where there is a correlation between liver problems and the consumption of such products, but this does not imply causation.

    The fatality mentioned in the articles in 2020 refers to an 82-year-old male – it is not clear that the supplement was the cause of death as he was also taking Naproxen. Naproxen is a Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug (NSAID). NSAIDs, including Naproxen, have been reported to induce liver injury, including severe fulminant hepatic (liver) failure. The article's phrasing falsely suggests a broader and more severe situation than the TGA's statement implies.

    A total of 18 reports of hepatobiliary (i.e. involving the liver, gall bladder and bile ducts) adverse events associated with turmeric and curcumin have been reported over 21 years in Australia since 2002. Turmeric is a very commonly consumed product in foods and medicines, representing extremely rare reports. Factors such as individual sensitivities, lifestyle influences, or concurrent medication usage might have contributed to the case.

    Turmeric Is Generally used to Support Liver Health in Healthy Persons

    In Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric (Curcuma longa) has been used for its potential to support liver health for many centuries and for many other health benefits. Ayurveda is a traditional system of medicine that originated in India that places great emphasis on using natural remedies and herbs to promote overall well-being. Turmeric's use in Ayurvedic medicine to protect liver health is based on its active compound, curcumin, which is believed to possess several beneficial properties, including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, enhancement of bile flow, detoxification and regulation of liver enzymes.

    Balanced Representation of Cases

    The stories emphasise individual liver problems linked to turmeric and curcumin consumption. It's worth understanding that the response from the TGA follows standard pharmacovigilance procedures and is based on 18 reported cases, with the influence of other medicines being ruled out in only nine of these cases. The rarity of the reaction could represent an idiosyncratic reaction, an abnormal reactivity in rare cases for unknown reasons. Idiosyncratic drug-induced liver injury (DILI) is estimated to occur in 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 100,000 people who take medication. A more balanced perspective on the rarity of these incidents should be highlighted. 

    Correlation Does Not Imply Causation

    The assertion that nine cases "had enough information to suggest a liver injury may have been caused by the turmeric" is questionable. It's crucial to emphasise that correlation does not imply causation, and that limited information on safety issues involving curcumin and turmeric at this stage is available internationally. The TGA's statement indicates that there might be a risk in specific cases, such as consuming products with enhanced absorption, bioavailability, or higher doses. Only after a comprehensive scientific investigation is completed can conclusions be made; it is premature to definitively claim that turmeric or curcumin directly caused the reported liver injuries.

    CMA is currently investigating the reports related to curcumin as part of our ongoing response to any safety issues raised about complementary medicines.

    Symptom investigation

    Listing symptoms associated with liver problems could lead readers to assume a direct link between experiencing these symptoms and consuming turmeric or curcumin supplements. A doctor should always investigate general liver symptoms resulting from various health conditions, prescriptions, OTC, or other medications. Assumptions about potential symptoms and causes can only be drawn with properly investigated medical assistance.

    Aligning with the TGA's warning details, it's essential to accurately present the information and provide a well-rounded perspective on the risks associated with turmeric and curcumin-containing products. Ensuring factual reporting will help to inform the Australian public effectively.

    To conclude, CMA is investigating the reports related to curcumin as part of our ongoing response to any safety issues raised about herbal or other complementary medicines. While the TGA considers appropriate risk mitigation options, it is essential to present all information accurately.

    References ;

  • 30 Jun 2023 12:08 PM | Deleted user

    A recent article by ABC Hobart raised concerns about the risk of additives in sports supplements such as protein powders, pre-workout powders, and vitamins. This sceptical view challenges the efficacy and safety of these products.

    Scientific research suggests that certain supplements can enhance performance, aid in recovery, and help achieve athletic goals when used appropriately.

    However, providing accurate information and dispelling misconceptions regarding health-related products is crucial. Complementary Medicines Australia aims to address these concerns and present a more balanced perspective on sports supplements for Australian consumers.

    Misconception: Sports supplements are unnecessary and provide no real benefits

    Contrary to this belief, sports supplements can be valuable for individuals who engage in physical activities or sports. Scientific research suggests that certain supplements can enhance performance, aid in recovery, and help achieve athletic goals when used appropriately. However, it is important to consult healthcare professionals or accredited sports dietitians before incorporating them into one's routine.

    Misconception: Sports supplements are unregulated and potentially unsafe

    The Therapeutic Goods Administration regulates sports supplements in Australia for safety and quality. Products that make therapeutic claims undergo rigorous testing and must meet specific standards set by the TGA. Reputable manufacturers often voluntarily submit their products for testing by independent third-party organisations such as Informed-Sport or NSF Certified for Sport to provide additional quality and safety assurance. Consumers are advised to choose products that have undergone such scrutiny and possess the necessary certifications to ensure reliability.

    Suppliers of sports supplements in Australia are also encouraged to check WADA's 2023 World Anti-Doping Code International Standard Prohibited List in conjunction with the Therapeutic Goods update on 1 March 2023.

    The TGA urges manufacturers, sponsors, retailers, and advertisers of sports supplement products to review the 2023 Prohibited List against their product range and take necessary action to ensure compliance with the law. The TGA routinely monitors the advertising of sports supplement products, tests them for scheduled and prohibited ingredients, and takes action against non-compliance, including issuing infringement notices and seizing inappropriate goods.

    Education and Awareness

    It is important consumers understand the specific supplement they intend to use. Research the ingredients, dosages, and potential side effects associated with the product. Reliable sources of information include reputable scientific publications, registered sports dietitians, and official websites of governing bodies such as the Australian Institute of Sport.

    Quality and certification

    Look for products tested by trusted independent organisations like Informed-Sport or NSF Certified for Sport. These certifications indicate that the supplement has been tested for prohibited substances, providing an added level of reassurance.

    Professional guidance

    Seek advice from qualified healthcare professionals or accredited sports dietitians who can assess individual needs and recommend suitable supplements, if necessary. They can also help ensure that any considered supplements align with overall health goals.

    While it is essential to be cautious and well-informed when considering sports supplements and vitamins, it is unfair to dismiss them as mere "expensive urine." Many high-quality Australian supplements, when used responsibly, can contribute to the overall well-being and performance of individuals with specific dietary needs or athletic goals.

    By making informed choices, seeking professional guidance, and relying on reputable brands, individuals can optimise their supplementation strategy and experience the potential benefits of sports supplements and vitamins.

  • 19 Jun 2023 9:19 AM | Deleted user

    An Australian medical doctor specialising in integrative and functional medicine, Dr Mark Donohoe has a wealth of experience and is actively involved in research, education, and clinical practice in complex chronic illnesses, environmental medicine, and the intersection between genetics and health.


    Dr Mark Donohoe, president of ACNEM

    As president of ACNEM (Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine), Mark has contributed to numerous educational programs; he has delivered lectures and workshops, sharing his knowledge and expertise with healthcare professionals to promote the study and practice of nutritional and environmental medicine. ACNEM exists to advance the understanding of the role of nutrition and the environment in disease prevention and developing and managing health and disease.


    A holistic approach

    “ACNEM advocates for a holistic approach to healthcare, emphasising the importance of nutrition, lifestyle factors, and the environment in maintaining health and preventing disease,” says Dr Mark.  “We promote research and collaboration and provide resources and support for healthcare professionals to stay updated with the latest nutritional and environmental medicine developments.


    “Forty years ago, Dr Ian Brighthope and other doctors viewed that health should be at the forefront of all – nutrition, exercise, environment and sleep with nutrition and diet first and supplementation where diet is inadequate, and that’s how ACNEM came to be,” he explains.


    Putting preventive health on the health agenda

    There is far more integrative medicine today, but medicine is not limited to doctors – ACNEM strongly advocated for a health professional team approach focusing on preventive health. “With health promotion as the primary priority, doctors will have less of a focus on treating degenerative and chronic conditions. ACNEM’s role is to provide quality integrative healthcare integration and equip professionals with practical tools to work in complex areas such as long covid, a challenging condition handled by conventional medicines. There are opportunities for various professions to collaborate to find answers that medicine has yet to come up with to tackle healthcare issues,” Dr Mark explains.


    Long covid – a significant challenge

    The ACNEM 2023 Annual Conference explores one of these significant modern challenges – the complexity of long COVID. It will offer health professionals a comprehensive roadmap to simplify diagnosis and develop effective treatment protocols to address this complex condition successfully. This two-day event combines evidence-based content from international thought leaders on long COVID and is a relevant and important conference for all modalities in Integrative Medicine.


    The educators contributing to this conference are recognised as international experts in their fields, including Professor David Putrino, Dr Leo Galland, Dr Elizabeth Steels, Dr James Read, Dr Christabelle Yeoh, Dr Jason Kaplan, Professor Kerryn Phelps AM, Tracey Spicer AM, Anne Wilson and George Sondergeld.


    “The 2023 conference structure features both plenary and case-study learning to ensure a deep understanding of the Physiological processes of long COVID and practical insight into treatment strategies,” ends Dr Mark.


    For more information:




<< First  < Prev   1   2   3   4   5   Next >  Last >> 


Six herbs and nutrients that support immunity

Herbs and nutrition have been harnessed for their health benefits by people around the world since time began. With the Australian winter nearly upon us, and given the current pandemic, here are some herbs and nutrients that have been widely used to support the immune system, reduce risk of infection and minimise symptoms should an infection occur.

A healthy, varied diet, enough sleep, managing stress, adequate physical activity and not smoking support immunity.


The basics

The cornerstone to good health and to supporting your immune system is enjoying a healthy, varied diet, getting enough sleep, managing stress, getting enough physical activity and not smoking. In addition, several herbs and supplements may also be used to support immunity. Check with your healthcare practitioner before taking supplements and if any symptoms persist.

Because COVID-19 is a novel virus, there are no proven treatments or preventative therapies including supplements, medicines or foods that are known to protect us. Until the virus is better understood, limiting community exposure through social distancing or isolation where appropriate, and practicing good hygiene are vital to limit the spread.

Your immune system

Like other body systems, your immune system is complex. Many cells and tissues make up your defence system from your skin to your gut and even eyelashes and white blood cells. Every area of the body is supported – so you could consider your body as your castle and your immune system as the soldiers that patrol and defend every part of your body. 

Keeping your immune system in balance is important at every age and every stage of life. And, traditionally, a number of herbs and nutrients have been used to support the immune system – feeding and supporting your internal soldiers.

1.        Astragalus

Native to China, Korea, Mongolia and Russia, the herb Astragalus has been used since the second century AD to support the immune system, and recent study has shown it supports immunity at the cellular level. This herb is an adaptogen which means that it helps to support the body's reaction to stress. Astragalus root extract is traditionally used to promote a healthy immune system, increase resistance to infection and relieve fatigue.

2.        Andrographis

Used widely in Ayurvedic medicine and traditional Chinese medicine for its anti-inflammatory properties, Andrographis contains andrographolide, a terpenoid compound shown to have antiviral effects, including against those that cause respiratory infections. When taken at the first sign of cold symptoms, Andrographis may help to prevent a cold from developing with full force. Andrographis may help to ease the symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections. It might also prevent influenza viruses from binding to cells in the body, although more research is needed to understand its effectiveness in treating the flu. It can be used to relieve symptoms of treat mild fever, the common cold and sore throat.

This herb is not recommended for use in pregnancy and breast feeding.  There is a small possibility of developing taste disturbances when using Andrographis products so follow the label instructions. 

3.        Echinacea

Echinacea is a daisy-like plant and has been used by Native Americans for centuries.  There are 2 main species used - Echinacea purpurea and Echinacea angustifolia. Various parts of these different Echinacea species are active in different ways; which is why they are frequently used together.

Echinacea supports a healthy immune response when taken at the onset of symptoms. Studies have suggested that certain species improve immune health and may have antiviral effects against several respiratory viruses, including respiratory syncytial virus and rhinoviruses. The antiviral action may be due to the presence of certain polysaccharides that increase the production of infection-fighting white blood cells.

When taken at the first sign of symptoms, Echinacea can relieve symptoms of colds and mild upper respiratory infections and may reduce the duration of cold-related symptoms such as fatigue, body aches and headache.


4. Vitamin D

The sunshine vitamin, vitamin D, is unusual because the major source is sunshine rather than food sources (it is made when the sunlight interacts with a cholesterol-like substance in your skin). Certain groups, particularly those with restricted access to sunlight may be at risk of vitamin D deficiency, which can be medically diagnosed with a simple blood test. Vitamin D is essential to support the health and functioning of your immune system. 

This vitamin works by enhancing the pathogen (disease) fighting effects of white blood cells that are part of your immune defence and decreases inflammation, helping to support the immune response.

Being deficient in vitamin D may be associated with an increased risk of upper respiratory tract infections.

Food sources of vitamin D include some mushrooms, oily fish, fortified foods and egg yolks.

5. Zinc 

Zinc deficiency affects around 2 billion people worldwide and is very common in older adults. About 30% of older adults may be deficient in zinc. Low levels can increase the risk of infection because this mineral helps support healthy immune system function.

It's important not to overdo it though – too much zinc can interfere with copper absorption. Find zinc in whole grains, oysters, baked beans, chickpeas, and nuts.

6. Vitamin C 

The best know nutrient when it comes to your immune system is perhaps Vitamin C. Vitamin C is vital for immune health and may reduce the severity and duration of colds. It encourages the production of white blood cells (lymphocytes and phagocytes), which help protect against infection. It also helps these white blood cells function more effectively while protecting them from damage by potentially harmful molecules, such as free radicals. Free radical damage can negatively affect immune health and is linked to numerous diseases.

Because it is water-soluble, you can't store large amounts so it's important to consume some every day. Good food sources include vegetables and fruits; however if you cook veggies, cook them until just tender in a small amount of water as vitamin C is destroyed by heat and can leach out into the cooking water.

Last word

Remember that although supplements can make a difference to your immune health, they can't replace a healthy lifestyle. If you are unwell, stay at home and following Department guidelines about COVID-19 – see


Soluble Fibre, Insoluble Fibre, Functions And Where to Find It

June 2020

June is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month which claims the lives of 103 Australians every week (5,375 people a year) - but it's one of the most treatable types of cancer if found early[i]. As well as regular testing, diet is an important factor where it comes to prevention.

Many studies have shown a diet high in fibre can help reduce the risk of developing bowel cancer. This features focuses on fibre – which four out of five Australians don’t consume enough of – and the many benefits of fibre for all-round good health.

Dietary fibre refers to the parts of plant foods that aren’t digested. Although you can’t absorb it – it never leaves your gastrointestinal tract – fibre is vital for good health. Experts recommend around 30g of fibre recommended daily for adults.

Here are six reasons your body needs fibre and easy ways to add more fibre into your diet.

1.      It gives your large intestine a workout

Insoluble fibre (the outer shells of seeds, grains, fruits, and vegetables) can be stringy or coarse. The large intestine is a long muscular tube and, like all muscles, it needs exercise. Insoluble fibre draws water to it and softens the stool making waste more comfortable to pass. Keeping things moving helps to prevent conditions such as constipation, haemorrhoids and diverticular disease.


2.      It feeds your probiotic bacteria

Resistant starch, although not traditionally thought of as fibre, acts in a similar way. It resists digestion in the small intestine (where most food is digested) and when it enters the large intestine, provides food for gut bacteria. Healthy gut bacteria play a key role in controlling inflammation; too much chronic (long-term) inflammation may predispose people to type 2 diabetes.


Find resistant starch in legumes (peas, beans and lentils), seeds, grains, green bananas and certain cooked-and-cooled starchy foods including potatoes and rice.


3.      It helps you feel fuller for longer

Soluble fibre is usually soft and moist and is found in fruit (but not the skins), vegetables and pulses, oats and ground flax seeds. This type of fibre mixes with water in the gut forming a gel-like substance, helping to slow down digestion which, in turn, helps you feel fuller for longer. It also feeds your beneficial gut bacteria. Plus, the physical bulk helps you feel fuller so you may be less likely to consume excess calories.  


4.      It reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes

Research suggests that if every Australian adult added just 4–5g of fibre to their diet each day, it could help prevent 126,000 cases of type 2 diabetes and 64,000 cases of heart disease saving our economy $3.3 billion[ii].

Eating a diet that is rich in fibre can help to flatten the rise in blood glucose (sugar) after eating. And, because it can help to delay the absorption of glucose from the gut and into the bloodstream, your body does not have to release as much insulin to return blood glucose levels to normal.


Again, fibre provides food for your probiotic bacteria, and good gut bacteria can play a part in weight regulation since obesity is a significant risk factor in the development of type 2 diabetes.


Soluble fibre is especially important if you have insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes. Find it in psyllium husk, legumes, oats and ground flax seeds. Ripe fruit and vegetables naturally contain more soluble fibre.


5.      It protects your heart

A high-fibre diet may help protect your heart by reducing cholesterol levels in the blood – the gel-like substance may reduce glucose and cholesterol absorption into the bloodstream. Again, it can also help to control weight. High cholesterol levels, high blood glucose levels and being overweight are all risk factors for heart disease.


Fibre also increases the production of short-chain fatty acids by probiotic bacteria which have also been shown to help to reduce inflammation and cholesterol production.


6.      It’s linked with gut health

Higher intakes of fibre are associated with lower rates of bowel cancer. Probiotic bacteria the short-chain fatty acids produced help to keep the lining of the intestine healthy. They also help the body absorb minerals, enhance fat and glucose metabolism in the liver, and have anti-diarrhoeal and anti-inflammatory properties. Butyrate, one of the short-chain fatty acids that is produced by the fermentation of fibre in the large intestine, may reduce the risk of tumour growth.


What about supplements?

Fibre supplements may help people to enjoy the many health benefits of fibre, relieve constipation and maintain regularity. Plus, by choosing a diet that is low in saturated fat and by adding soluble fibre, such as psyllium husk, may help to lower blood cholesterol levels; this may help to reduce the of heart disease. It is important to obtain the advice of a healthcare practitioner especially if you have certain health conditions.


Be cautious

In some medical conditions, it may be important to restrict insoluble fibre. These include acute or subacute diverticulitis, acute phases of certain inflammatory bowel conditions such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, and after some types of intestinal surgery.


Some types of fibre can exacerbate underlying irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). If you have IBS and you’re following a low-FODMAP diet, you may find some high-fibre foods make your symptoms worse. Talk to your healthcare practitioner for individual advice.


Go slow and drink plenty of fluids

If you’d like to consume more fibre, go slowly over a few weeks. Too much too soon can trigger discomfort and leave you feeling bloated and constipated. And make sure you drink plenty of fluids as fibre draws water into the bowel and needs fluid to work properly.


How to do it

Boost your fibre intake by choosing wholegrain foods most of the time, add legumes (beans, chickpeas and lentils) to salads, soups and stews at least two-to-three times a week, and try to choose high fibre cereals instead of fibre-stripped refined foods.


Aim for around 30g of fibre a day. Here are some good food sources of fibre.


Cereals and breads

Wholegrain barley wrap 1 wrap = 10g

Wholemeal pasta (cooked) 1 cup = 10g  

Soy-linseed bread 2 slices = 6g

Rolled oats 1/4 cup = 4g

Weet-Bix 2 biscuits = 3.5g                          

Brown rice (cooked) 1 cup = 3g   

Quinoa (cooked) 1/2 cup = 2.5g


Beans and pulses            

Baked beans 130g can = 6g

Four-bean mix 125g can = 6g

Chickpeas (cooked) 1/2 cup = 5g

Lentils (cooked) 1/2 cup = 3.5g

Hummus 2 tbs = 2.5g     


Veggies and fruits

Vegetables (cooked) 1 cup = 8g  

Carrot/celery sticks 1 cup = 4g

Banana 1 medium = 3g

Apple 1 medium = 3g     

Sweet potato 1/2 small = 3g

Avocado 1/4 medium = 2g

Potatoes 2 small = 1.5g

Dried fruit 2 tbs = 1.5g


Nuts and seeds

Chia seeds 1 tbs = 5.5g

Plain popcorn 2 cup = 4g              

Almonds 20 nuts = 3g

Peanut butter 1 tbs = 3g               

Seed mix 2tbs = 2.5g










Gerald Quigley talks pharmacy and immune support

Community pharmacist, master herbalist, media health commentator and author, Gerald Quigley, has been passionate about integrative medicine since his early career, which spans nearly 50 years.

Gerald is passionate about empowering people to take control of their own health via greater understanding.

Right from their beginning in their shopping strip pharmacy, Gerald and his now-retired pharmacist wife, Philippa, noticed that the same people with the same health issues returned to the pharmacy over and over again. The couple made a conscious decision to become better involved with their customers and their chronic diseases, determined to help people understand their illness better and, most of all, to ensure that their illness did not define them.

“Philippa became the dispensary manager, and my role was to spend as little dispensing time as possible. I focused on mixing with customers and those whose health we felt we could make a difference to,” says Gerald.  

The couple’s aim was to empower people to take control of their own health via greater understanding.

“This is important because, of course, pharmacists are health professionals. But if you ask anyone the name of their GP or their dentist, they will know. But what about their pharmacist, the person in charge of their health,” asks Gerald?

So, the team made a point of getting to know customers by their name and be a part of their wellness. Every staff member carried a business card, and all sought feedback on nutritional medicines and how patients were progressing.

Empowering with information

The couple often saw the same people with the same conditions, including diabetes, asthma, hypertension, raised cholesterol and psoriasis. Soon, people would line up and talk about their issues, and Gerald and the team would discuss medicines and the role that complementary medicines could play.

“We aimed to help people understand that they didn’t need to be dominated by their condition. Our message might be to consume more omega-3s, exercise regularly and not smoke – we were people-centric, and people responded to that,” Gerald says.

Better understanding, greater responsibilities

Gerald strongly believes that helping people understand more about their own health comes with responsibilities. Any food a person consumes has a physiological action, and every medicine has a pharmacological action.

“Pharmacists have a responsibility to ensure the patient understands their medicines and their health plus that they provide feedback to the pharmacist so that individual and mutual understanding can grow.”

For example, when a patient is prescribed a statin, it is important to explain how Ubiquinol and CoEnzymeQ10 production is affected. And, for people taking Metformin, explaining how vitamin B12 levels can be affected. I feel that it is professionally reprehensible not to do this, and it is a fundamental nutritional requirement.”

Supporting immunity

Gerald notes that immune support is as important as ever given the current pandemic. “Many factors contribute to immune support. And there is evidence-based research to back the use of certain nutrients. Given that so many people consume takeaway foods so often, and 94% of people don’t consume enough vegetables and fruits, clearly, there is a need for better nutrition. I recently read about the role of music in immune function – anything you can do to support healthy immune function is worthwhile,” he says.

Speaking about one of the most widely used analgesics, paracetamol, Gerald notes that according to the Australian Medicines Handbook, the mode of action is not known. “Plus a study published two years ago found that paracetamol was no better than placebo for arthritic pain,” Gerald says.

Reinventing the business of pharmacy

Now amid the current coronavirus pandemic, it may be the perfect time to reinvent the business of pharmacy suggests Gerald. “Listen to the information people can share and take the opportunities to upskill everybody who works in a pharmacy.” From a complementary medicines perspective, Gerald believes that now it is more important than ever.

“The best advice I could give pharmacy staff is to research and be confident about a topic – be it pharmaceutical or herbal. You don’t have to be an expert on everything. Choose an area and specialise in it. Currently, perhaps consider immune-supporting herbs or vitamins, to offset insomnia or anxiety? For example, understanding the role of vitamin D3, Echinacea and Astragalus to name just a few and how their antiviral actions apply.”

Pharmacists’ professionalism needs to develop faster than their commercialism,” he adds, “pharmacy graduates need to shift their thinking from illness to wellness. Teaching needs a fundamental overhaul because it can make a real and positive difference to people,” he says.

Herbal and complementary medicine training 

If asked to choose between a pharmaceutical topic or herbal topic, Gerald says he would probably choose to learn about a herbal topic or one with a base in complementary medicines.

“A lot of pharmaceutical education is company-sponsored while complementary medicine presentations tend to be headed by practitioners who can also supply a patient history. And this is practical knowledge that can be used in practical situations,” he says.

Petty controversies

“CMA does great work with the TGA and responds to the petty controversies touted by FSM, e.g. focussing on imported supplements with their sometimes outrageous claims. They should be thinking more about the many ways we could reduce the risk to patients, from overseas products. Australia’s complementary medicines industry is more responsible now than ever and needs pharmacies and medicines to support them.”

The sniping in news media about complementary medicine disturbs Gerald. “There is little publicity about the dangers of prescription medicines – take Lyrica, for example. Lyrica is now the most prescribed pain medication on PBS, but there are calls for nationwide monitoring after reports that it may cause depression and anxiety. Other side effects can include coma, but you won’t read about them in tabloids. Yet if a milk thistle supplement imported from overseas causes a side effect in one person in the outback, that would make front-page news,” Gerald says.

Ethical, not monetary 

Gerald underlines the needs for a multidisciplinary approach to healthcare for patients. Developing strong relationships with dietitians and nutritionists, naturopaths and more will forge stronger professional relationships.  The basis should be ethical, not monetary.

Finding a trusted practitioner who puts your welfare before his requires trial and error stresses Gerald. “Like finding a good GP or plumber, the professional needs to understand and respect the individual and request and respond to feedback – and that includes the pharmacist. What an opportunity for pharmacists to be involved! If patients don’t have the confidence to ask their pharmacist, then it’s a sad indictment on our profession.”

We should all aspire to unite our industry to become more ethical urges Gerald. “And pharmacists and their teams understand that we can make a difference and help to make the world a healthier place,” ends Gerald.  

Copyright © 2019 Complementary Medicines Australia. All rights reserved.

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software