ASMI welcomes new Health Minister Greg Hunt
18 January 2017
The Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) today congratulated the Hon. Greg Hunt on his appointment to the role of Federal Minister for Health and Sport.
Chief Executive Officer, Deon Schoombie, said, “ASMI looks forward to working closely with the Minister and his office to improve consumer health through enhancements to responsible self care.
“ASMI will seek an early meeting with Minister Hunt to discuss key issues such as switch, S3 advertising, incentives for research and development in the non-prescription medicines industry, and access to medicines.”
Fish oil during pregnancy linked to lower incidence of asthma and wheezing in children
13 January 2017
Research efforts into potential benefits of complementary medicines continues to pay dividends, with a new study published in this month’s New England Journal of Medicine showing the benefits of fish oil supplementation in pregnant women can reduce the risk of their children developing asthma or persistent wheeze as infants.
Research from The Copenhagen Prospective Studies on Asthma in Childhood consisted of a longitudinal study of pregnant women who took omega-3s in the form of 4 x 1000mg fish oil capsules during the third trimester of pregnancy.
A total of 695 children were included in the trial, and 95.5% completed the 3-year, double-blind follow-up period. All women who consumed fish oil in the last trimester of their pregnancy reduced the risk of their children developing asthma by at least 32 per cent.
The effect was strongest in the children of women whose blood levels of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) were the lowest.
Clinical Professor and Head of COPSAC, Hans Bisgaard, said:
“Fish oil contains long-chained fatty acids and high levels of these acids help to reduce the risk of child asthma.
“The long-chained fatty acids found in fish oil are important to the immune system. If the cell membrane does not contain a sufficient amount of fatty acids, it cannot produce antibodies, which increases the risk of developing asthma. Our ability to absorb these fatty acids is genetically determined which means that some people absorb them better than others. People who absorb the fatty acids less well need a larger dose.
“Consuming more fish oil than you need has no adverse effects. I therefore recommend that all women eat fish oil during the last trimester of their pregnancy.”
Fish Oil-Derived Fatty Acids in Pregnancy and Wheeze and Asthma in Offspring, http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1503734
Protecting children with sunscreens
09 January 2017
The Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) has stated its continued support for the use of sunscreens, especially children’s sunscreen products on the Australian market following recent reports of complaints against the Cancer Council’s Peppa Pig Kids Sunscreen.
All primary sunscreens in the Australian market are closely regulated by the Australian Government’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) to help ensure they meet the highest standards of quality, safety and effectiveness. Primary sunscreens are those with a rated sun protection factor (SPF) of 4 or more.
Sunscreen use remains an important form of sun protection, along with protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses and, whenever possible, avoiding the sun during peak UV periods. A study published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health1 estimated that, in 2010, average sunscreen use over previous decades in Australia had prevented 1,730 cases of melanoma and 14,190 squamous cell carcinomas.
Sunscreens, like any other topical product, have the potential to cause skin irritation or other adverse reactions in an extremely low proportion of the population. The skin of babies and infants is less mature and therefore more sensitive compared to that of older children and adults. Infants also have a higher surface-area to body-weight ratio compared to older children and adults, which means their exposure to the ingredients in sunscreens via skin absorption may be much greater, increasing the risk of side effects from the sunscreen. Consequently, carers of babies and infants are encouraged to heed the warnings that come with sunscreen products for children:
sunscreen use should be avoided wherever possible for babies under six months of age.
always test the product on a small patch of skin (e.g. inside of forearm) before liberally applying to other areas of the body
follow the directions for use on the label, including the advised rate of re-application
The Australasian College of Dermatologists recommends keeping babies under 12 months out of direct sun and avoiding exposure to the peak UV period of 10am-3pm, in addition to using other forms of sun protection, such as hats, clothing, and sunglasses to minimise the potential of sunburn from reflected sunlight. Sunscreen products should be used only when the conditions above cannot be avoided. Liberal amounts of sunscreen should be applied for babies of six months or older before they are allowed out in the sun for short periods of time. Infants under six months of age should be kept out of the sun.
Given the lifesaving benefits of sunscreen, ASMI continues to encourage the use of TGA regulated sunscreens. Consumers with any concerns or adverse reactions with a suspected association with sunscreen use are advised to consult a healthcare professional.