Abridged Information About the New TGA Advertising Code
by Australian Healthcare Consumers' Association
- The legislation referred to is Therapeutic Goods Regulations
Advertising Code of 1989 (Amendment) Statutory Rules Nos. 400
and 401 gazetted 24 December 1997.
- Amendment No 400 requires all promotional materiel of natural
health products to be submitted to the Secretary of the Therapeutics
Goods Administration (TGA) accompanied with a reported fee of
$180, for approval prior to publication in any mainstream
media, and prohibits any claim of therapeutic benefits.
Amendment No. 401 prohibits use of the term drug free.
- A new Schedule, No 14 has been implemented, detailing which
20 designated ingredients are being targeted. These
include vitamins, minerals and herbs.
- This move is to bring the Australian health industry in line
with that of the European Union under the General Agreement on
Tariffs and Trade (GATT), known as Codex, which has already severely
restricted health freedom in Canada and Europe. This is now being
attempted here. The move was successfully stopped in the USA
last November. New Zealand is also currently being targeted for
harmonisation as it is called.
- The Codex Commission is a joint UN/WHO Commission and is committed
to a German proposal, behind which is I.G. Farben (now called
Hoescht, Bayer and BASF), one of the worlds largest chemical
and drug corporations, all of whom have major input into the WHOs
decision-making on regulatory issues pertaining to drugs.
- This is limiting consumer access to dietary supplements to
the RDA dosage as a maximum limit for vitamins (eg Vit C is 60
mg (about what is in an orange), Vit E is 15 mg, etc) and supplements
that dont have an RDA (such as trace minerals, amino acids,
co-enzymes) are to become illegal to sell as foods and they are
to be reclassified as drugs. This has been occurring overseas
For example in Norway, Vitamin C over 200 mg is illegal; in Canada
a whole list of products are now banned, such as amino acids,
EPAs (fish oil, cod liver oil), Eyebright (for eyes), Gota
Kola (relaxation and memory), Pau DArco (powerful antioxidant,
antifungal and some benefit in treatment of cancer), St Johns
Wort (Hypericum) an antidepressant (far more effective than Prozac
without the horrific side-effects). There are more and more being
added to the list every week.
- In Norway, Shering-Plough, the pharmaceutical giant, now controls
an Echinacea tincture (a herb widely used to boost the immune
system and prevent or minimise cold and flu symptoms) which is
being sold there as an OTC (over the counter) drug, at grossly
inflated prices. The same is true of Ginko Biloba.
- On December 4, 1966, the WHO announced a new technology called
Pharma Printing which produces pharmaceutical
versions of herbal medicines that previously could not be standardised,
patented, clinically tested, approved by government agencies,
prescribed by doctors, nor reimbursed by governments or insurance
- This means that natural herbs which people have used for thousands
of years with fantastic results may now be patented (at a cost
of some $5 - $20 million). The question is at whose expense will
this be done? After spending millions to patent the herbs of
the world, wont the medical industrial complex want to protect
their investment and drive all natural products out of the marketplace?
This would appear to be what is happening now.
- The pharmaceutical and drug industry has been singularly and
spectacularly the most profitable industry in the world in the
last 50 years. Australian Governments have subsidised the purchase
of drugs to the tune of some $2 billions per year. Health care
costs are escalating at a greater rate than any other service.
Nutritional and herbal remedies receive NO Government
handouts or subsidies. In fact, the natural product industry
gets significantly increased government charges, little research
in to nutrition and threats to its very future as government
fails to implement its own stated policy of promising that
approval processes of the TGA do not present unnecessary barriers
to people obtaining alternative therapy products.
The recent media hype regarding the death of a person in 1997,
allegedly from taking Royal Jelly, is absolutely ridiculous in
light of the fact that prescribed drugs cause side effects, including
the ultimate one - death, to 40% of people who take them. Yet
these statistics are never brought to the attention of the public.
- It would appear that the Government is biased in the extreme
towards multi-national corporations and is assisting them in their
take-over of this countrys small business community. The
pharmaceutical industry in this country is 100% foreign-owned.
- This current move, amongst other moves in other sectors of
the community, is well on the way to promoting higher unemployment
and financial ruin for many.
- Why are foreign owned multi-nationals allowed to dictate to
the Australian people on so many issues? Foreign companies already
have a better chance of making their businesses work, through
paying little or no tax, while Australian companies bear the cost
of debilitating taxes and regulations (with their accompanying
fees), forcing them out of trade through economic overload, or
selling out to the multinationals to recoup some of their losses.
Foreign companies already own 90% of the corporate sector and
anything else that was Australian owned is rapidly being sold
- A new agreement is being made with the Multilateral Agreement
of Investments (MAI) that will also negate any of our laws that
currently protect local businesses - even giving these foreign
investors government aid and subsidies.. Will they also have
to pay taxes now? Why is this aid not being diverted to more
vigorous subsidising of Australian owned businesses instead?
Why are we not safeguarding our own industries and looking at
ways to boost our local economy? Where is the fair trade and
equal competition which was once in place?? If foreign countries
want to invest here, it shows that there must be a market, and
profits to be mad, or they wouldnt do it - so why doesnt
Australian do it for ourselves?
- The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)
was removed from their position last year of safeguarding
fair trade under the TGA Code. They have been replaced with the
Proprietary Medicines Association of Australia and the Nutritional
Foods Association of Australia - both of which primarily represent
major pharmaceutical and drug companies. WHY?????
- A Media Release dated 5 February 1998 from Trish Worth, Parliamentary
Secretary responsible for Therapeutic Goods allows pharmacists
to advertise pharmacist-only products, which was previously not
allowed. Why are drugs allowed to be advertised and natural
health products not????
- These moves are blatantly ANTI-COMPETITIVE and, we
would say, UNCONSTITUTIONAL in the extreme.
- Already there have been reports of one small company being
restricted in their advertising, while major competitors are not
similarly restricted. Also, a herb farm in NSW was raided, had
books on herbs confiscated and is now facing prosecution in June.
- THIS IS EROSION OF THE AUSTRALIAN PEOPLES CONSTITUTIONAL
RIGHTS AND FREEDOM OF CHOICE!!!!!!!!!!!!
WHO KNOWS WHAT WILL BE NEXT?
- As over 60% of Australian use some form of alternative or
preventative health care, and many more use vitamins etc. This
issue affects every individual and their freedom of choice about
their health care, and lets face it, health - physical,
mental and emotional, is a big issue!!
We are asking for an immediate MOVE FOR DISALLOWANCE of this legislation
and a FULL SENATE INQUIRY into the matter.
The Australian Healthcare Consumers Association Inc is distributing
information packs regarding this issue - PO Box 153, Mudgeeraba
NB We are simply a concerned group of citizens, funding this
move for a full inquiry into what is happening out of our own
pockets. The only vested interest we have is that of wishing
to preserve our freedom of choice and our rights under Common
Law, for ourselves and our children.
We started looking into the TGA issue and find that is it is only
the tip of the iceberg as to what is happening in this country.
Unfortunately it is not until you seriously start looking for
information about what is happening, that you will find it.
We know we dont have all the facts - its extremely
difficult to try and sort through the wealth of information from
here and elsewhere, and also hard to get people to actually stop
and consider what what you are telling them may be true.
In fact we welcome, and urge you, to do your own investigating.
Just DO IT NOW!!!!!
No doubt, you will be as horrified as we are at the extent and
the ramifications of the legislation which are going through without
your knowledge or consent. But if you sit back and rely on the
news to keep informed, youll never know - they dont
know a lot of this themselves.
And that is what we are counting on - that good people are
out there who simply are not aware of what is happening, and how
it can affect them.
Every day you hear people complaining about various issues, and
they end up with Well, what can you do? Its sad,
but I cant do anything about it.
Well youre wrong - you can do something - you can voice
Our democracy is supposed to be government of
the people, by the people, for the people
- but if you dont make your wishes known, how can they be
February 28, 1998