Skip to content   Skip to footer navigation 

Consumers can't choose science over snake oil

CHOICE is calling for a mandatory disclaimer on all alternative medicines so consumers are able to find out whether these drugs are backed by scientific evidence.

23 January 2018

CHOICE is calling for a mandatory disclaimer on all alternative medicines so consumers are able to find out whether these drugs are backed by scientific evidence.

"We’re seriously concerned the proposed changes to the way alternative medicines are labelled will fail to protect consumers from ineffective drugs," says CHOICE Campaigns and Policy Team Lead, Katinka Day.

"From supplements which claim to suppress your hunger to tablets which say they’ll increase your libido, consumers will have no way of finding out whether these products actually work."

The Federal Government is considering approving more than 800 claims which haven’t been backed by independently-assessed scientific evidence, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine or Ayuerveda, as part of its review of the Therapeutic Goods Ammendment (TGA) bill.

"The new labelling requirements would allow products to claim they can treat menopause symptoms by balancing a person’s Yin and Yang using herbs," says Ms Day.

"It’s alarming Australia’s drug regulator will no longer have to scruitinise products which claim ‘traditional use’. 

"We’ve already seen vitamins company Swisse evade a TGA ban on its Ultiboost Appetite Suppressant by changing the label to claim its traditional use. 

"Drugs companies are always trying to push the boundaries to try to get you to part with your hard-earned cash and these changes will mean potentially misleading products will continue to fly under the radar." 

CHOICE believes there should be a mandatory disclaimer on all alternative medicines which fall under the ‘traditional use’ category. 

"Showing consumers that their supplement or herbal oil is not supported by scientific evidence will allow them to make informed decisions about what remedy they choose," says Ms Day. 

Media contact:

Tom Godfrey, Head of Media and Spokesperson - 0430 172 669 - @choice_news