The worthy but surprised winner of the CMA Contributor Awards is Michael Micallef.
Michael Micallef accepts the 2021 CMA Contributor Award from CMA CEO Carl Gibson
Director of Regulatory Affairs and Technical at Metagenics Australia, Michael, says that to say that he felt shocked when he heard that he had been honoured with the award was an understatement.
Away at an off-site meeting at the time of the awards ceremony, Michael heard the news via a text message from CMA’s Lucy Lang – he saw his photo on the screen in front of the 2021 CMA Contributor Award.
“Honoured, astonished and surprised all at the same time” is how Michael describes how he felt at the time.
The past 20 years of Michael’s professional life has been spent at Metagenics; he built upon his experience in the regulation of cosmetics, food and beverage both in Australia and overseas, with the focus on people’s health and wellbeing as fundamental to life.
“When I began my career in complementary medicines, I knew that it was an exciting industry. A large sector of the Australian community – 65 per cent – used complementary medicines then. That number continues to grow for good reason. I see many testimonials from people about the positive health benefits of using our own products. Of course, this is replicated throughout our industry everyday. I am passionate about playing my part in these positive health outcomes from a regulatory and quality perspective,” Michael says.
Michael is passionate about working in complementary medicines because he intimately understands how beneficial their use can be. As with his colleagues in the industry, he is dedicated to working towards complementary medicines being recognised and integrated into everyday healthcare.
Educating and influencing
Michael explains: “I believe that our health system will improve significantly when this happens, and working with CMA, I am committed to playing a role in the process by educating and influencing government and educational institutions.”
Excited about many of the emerging fields in complementary medicines, Michael is particularly enthused about the ever-increasing health benefits being found in probiotics and CBD.
“Probiotic research has exploded as a new area of exploration,” says Michael, “one that is certain to play a significant role in medicine as our understanding continues to grow. Then there is the frontier of medicinal Cannabis. It’s great to see how peoples opinions on medicinal cannabis has placed pressure and driven politicians and legislators around the world to review how medicinal cannabis could be legalised to allow the use of its health benefits. Appreciation and acceptance by the medical profession is growing as well – as there are 5800 applications to the TGA each month to prescribe medicinal CBD for their patients,” Michael says.
Collaboration and enthusiasm
Michael’s dedicated approach to complementary medicines has seen his work acknowledged with the 2021 CMA Contributor Award, which he says is the culmination of collaboration and enthusiasm with working with several committees over the years as well as the cooperation, participation and information sharing by professionals who represent companies, regulatory agents, consultants, and CMA.
Michael says: “Harnessing the energy and knowledge of all these individuals and professional groups is helping to shape and influence government to examine regulation so that complementary medicines can have a better and worthy footing in our health system.”
Of course, there are industry detractors that disagree: “But these exist in every industry,” Michael says. “Ours are small, well-funded and pretty vocal. But I feel that our most effective approach is to continue to release formulations that have a profound beneficial impact on peoples’ lives.”
And that is exactly what Michael and his team are committed to producing – the most efficacious, science-backed innovative formulations.
“I want to give a special shout out to CMA’s Lucy Lang,” says Michael. “Lucy does an absolutely awesome job in assisting the CM industry in fighting the good fight. Lucy is the conduit between industry and the regulator. Her insights in the workings of the TGA provides industry an understanding into how to approach and resolve regulatory issues.
“It has been an absolute honour to have been selected to receive this award. I see it as another one of those attributes to proudly accept on my way to personal growth. I haven’t had the time for it to sink in yet, though!”
“The future of our industry is very healthy, however, challenges will always be there and the best way to overcome these will be to have a united industry with a strong vocal and well connected industry association that can work with the regulator and government ministry’s to advocate for government policy that benefit CM’s within the local and export markets.