ASMI Media Releases 1. Expert Panel Falls Short 2. Self Care and the GAP Report

Expert Panel recommendations fall short on key OTC industry issue
25 June 2015 –

The Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) today said that the Expert Panel report on the regulatory framework for medicines and medical devices falls short in its recommendation to retain restrictions on the advertising of Schedule 3 medicines.

ASMI’s Executive Director, Deon Schoombie, welcomed the Panel’s recommendations on the scheduling framework for non-prescription medicines, saying that suggested changes are long overdue.

“However, while the Panel recognised the value of a formal risk-benefit methodology and enhanced opportunities for input – both of which were suggested by ASMI – it missed an opportunity to remove a long standing regulatory obstacle which is preventing the advertising of Schedule 3 medicines.

“The Panel acknowledged there was no evidence that advertising of Schedule 3 medicines would lead to harm and noted the efforts of the non-prescription medicines industry in developing a world first information-based model for Schedule 3 advertising.

Despite this, the Panel recommended retention of existing advertising restrictions.

 “This means that Australia’s approach to the advertising of Schedule 3 medicines will remain out of step with many comparable overseas jurisdictions.

“ASMI welcomes the strong emphasis on a risk-based approach to all aspects of regulation and the recommendation around comprehensively reviewing the legislative framework. Also the suggestion of an alternative funding model for the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s activities undertaken in the public good,” he added.
ASMI welcomes new report on improving opportunities for self care
23 June 2015 –

The Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) welcomed a new report that calls on governments to integrate self care into health policy, including greater investment in improving health literacy and preventative health.

The report, Towards Responsible Self Care: The role of health literacy, pharmacy and nonprescription medicines, by strategic policy institute Global Access Partners (GAP), will be launched by the Federal Health Minister, Sussan Ley in Canberra today.

It sets out several recommendations for government, citizens, health professionals, pharmacies and private health insurers to increase uptake of self care and addresses three of the multiple components of self care – access to medicines, the role of community pharmacy in primary healthcare delivery, and health literacy as a universal enabler of greater self care.

Deon Schoombie, ASMI Executive Director, said:

“The GAP Report points to the need to reorient the healthcare system towards a much greater emphasis on the prevention of the many lifestyle diseases forecast to drive spiralling cost increases in Australia’s healthcare system.

“It also highlights the need for the health system to support consumers to take more responsibility for managing minor conditions and chronic illnesses in partnership with health professionals rather than being passive recipients of healthcare.

“So the question is how might Australia develop and implement self care in a consistent and coordinated way that maximises the benefits not only for individual citizens but for participants in the health and care sector?

“Implementing self care is beyond the capacity of Government to mandate or any single group to bring about.
It requires input and action from all aspects of the health sector.

Key recommendations of the GAP Report are:  

Consumers need encouragement to take more responsibility for their health and wellbeing,
· but they also need the knowledge, skills and tools required to succeed  Government must create a policy environment in which self care forms an integral part of a

· national health policy and to work with all stakeholders to make it a reality  Regulatory authorities should encourage an environment that supports evidence-based non-prescription

· and complementary medicines  Cultural change is needed in the relationships between health care professionals and

· patients and between the different health care professions   

The expansion of self care will increase the demand for a broader range of solutions from

· industry – demand that should be met through product innovation and wider access to safe, effective treatments  The private health insurance industry needs to offer the right mix of incentives to alter

· behaviour in favour of self care.
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,” said Dr Schoombie

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