ASMI Media Release – Fine Tune Non-Prescription Regulations

ASMI calls on Federal Government to fine tune regulatory settings for nonprescription medicines industry

11 February 2015 – The Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) today urged the Federal Government to establish a regulatory framework for the non-prescription medicines industry that balances the protection of consumers with regulatory settings that encourage industry to invest in new products and services, which meet the health needs of Australians now and into the future.

Dr Deon Schoombie, ASMI Executive Director, said:

“ASMI’s 2015 Pre-Budget Submission sets out four measures to increase consumer access to medicines and support a viable and responsible industry.
The submission calls on the Federal Government to support the Self Care Alliance in the development of a policy agenda to embed self care in national health policy.

“Self care requires informed consumers; the expertise of GPs; pharmacists and other healthcare practitioners; the supply by industry of evidence based-products; government to facilitate a regulatory environment conducive to self care, and private health insurers to create incentives that will encourage self care behaviour,” explained Schoombie.

“Expanded self care along with improved health literacy should lighten the load on Australia’s hard pressed health services and Federal Budget, whilst improving patient outcomes, consumer convenience and quality of life.

” ASMI’s Pre-Budget submission also advocates for an alternative regulatory model to create consumer awareness of therapeutic options in Schedule 3 in a structured, balanced and responsible way.

According to Dr Schoombie:
“The proposed model is distinct from ‘conventional’ advertising where the main emphasis is on brand awareness in a genericised and crowded market environment. The proposed model shifts the emphasis to information about the symptoms and/or condition; product specific information and the requirement for counselling by a pharmacist.”

The current Australian scheduling environment is not conducive to increasing access to non-prescription medicines.
ASMI’s submission calls on the Federal Government to support a multi-stakeholder review of the Australian scheduling environment; develop a scheduling policy and ‘switch agenda’, and reform the regulatory framework and procedures to support the ‘switching’ of medicines, consistent with the National Medicines Policy.

“In ASMI’s opinion a review would be best dealt with through the establishment of a small working party of relevant technical specialists who can oversee the review process and report to the Australian Health Minister’s Advisory Committee (AHMAC),” said Dr Schoombie.

Finally, ASMI’s submission urges the Federal Government to apply the COAG principle of “minimum effective regulation” to the regulation of low risk medicines, including complementary medicines, while maintaining appropriate safety standards for consumers.

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