21 November, 2018
by Dr Ken Harvey, with an introduction by Ken Greatorex
To set the scene for those not familiar with the glacial machinations of Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration: Until recently in Australia we had a complaint process whereby Australia we had a complaint process whereby if you wanted to complain about the advertising of a particular listed medicine, you submitted. to the Complaints Resolution Panel. It was woefully under resourced, but it did its job, carried out inquiries then reported established breaches in conduct to the TGA. The TGA acted – sometimes.
Then things changed. Against the urging of such groups as The Australian Skeptics, Friends of Science in Medicine, Choice and other consumer advocates, the TGA became the body which dealt directly with such complaints.
As one who attended and absorbed the excellent review from Professor Harvey and three of his students, the result of this change has been:
- totally predictable
(left to right: Mal Vickers, Kithmini Cooray, Mary Malek, Ken Harvey)
The audience did not agree that the ongoing advertising of ‘Bright Brains’, illustrated by Kithmini, had achieved compliance with the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code 2015. In short, they disagreed with the TGA outcome statement about this complaint. Read the rest of this entry »
6 September, 2018
Here are reposts from two recent pieces by Dr Ken Harvey: Both examine Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Authority (TGA).
The first is a letter written to Melbourne’s Age newspaper.
The second, published on Dr Harvey’s own website is about Detox Foot Pads and more than adequately demonstrates the contention, made in the first piece, that the TGA is not really interested in consumer protection.
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Letter to The Age 5/9/18 Spotlight on regulators
Your editorial (4/9) says the government should have a more rigorous process to protect consumers from ineffective treatments and products. There are government regulators that are meant to do this job but they are weak and ineffective. Read the rest of this entry »
8 November, 2017
by Ken Greatorex
Whack-a-Mole was a popular 1970s arcade game which consisted of repeatedly hitting cartoon moles on the head with a cartoon hammer. Moles nevertheless kept cropping up with undiminished energy more or less at random; so the term Whack-a-mole came to signify “a repetitious and futile task.”
Problems with Regulation of Therapeutic Goods
The situation regarding the regulation of therapeutic goods in Australia is unsatisfactory. The complaints process is frustrating, exhausting and often ineffectual. Complaints to the Therapeutics Goods Administration (TGA) must be made against one product or service at a time. Because such complaints are almost invariably made by volunteers, and there is no financial incentive to complain, only a relatively tiny number of questionable products ever get put under the microscope.
An astonishing 87 % of such complaints have historically been upheld. Yet the offending companies rarely receive more than “a slap on the wrists”.
Read the rest of this entry »
1 September, 2011
by Dr Mick Vagg, Clinical Senior Lecturer at Deakin University School of Medicine & Pain Specialist at Barwon Health
This article has been reprinted from The Conversation website where it appeared on 1/9/2001.
If a manufacturer claimed its product was “clinically proven” and could relieve your symptoms of bloating and fatigue, would you believe it? What about if you were chronically or terminally ill and had tried almost everything else?
The latest audit of complementary therapies found as many as nine out of ten companies made misleading claims about their weight loss products, vitamins, lotions, pills and gadgets.
The release on Tuesday of the Australian National Audit Office’s (ANAO) report on the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s (TGA)
performance as regulator of complementary medicine products makes for alarming reading. Read the rest of this entry »