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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 20563

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.


Publication type: news

Corderoy A
Most pills and potions fail the test
The Sydney Morning Herald 2013 May 12

Full text:

Three-quarters of the complementary medicines reviewed by the nation’s drug regulator have failed a spot check designed to ensure they were not ripping off consumers.
Consumer law and health experts say the figures are just the tip of the iceberg, with thousands of vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements not checked for safety or efficacy.
The chief executive of the Consumers Health Forum, Carol Bennet, said the figure was “astounding”.
“That’s way too high, it’s outrageous that we continue to allow that level of non-compliance,” she said. “It’s extraordinarily concerning that people are putting their hands in their pockets to spend $2 billion a year on these products”.
A law lecturer at the University of Canberra, Bruce Arnold, said products found to be non-compliant with federal regulations should be “named and shamed”.
“I suspect what is happening is they are picking up on a range of claims being made about the products that simply aren’t true,” he said.
Figures provided by the Therapeutic Goods Administration show only 25 per cent of the 79 low-risk complementary medicines assessed between September and December last year met federal rules.
A TGA spokeswoman said spot checks occurred on both randomly selected and targeted products.


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As an advertising man, I can assure you that advertising which does not work does not continue to run. If experience did not show beyond doubt that the great majority of doctors are splendidly responsive to current [prescription drug] advertising, new techniques would be devised in short order. And if, indeed, candor, accuracy, scientific completeness, and a permanent ban on cartoons came to be essential for the successful promotion of [prescription] drugs, advertising would have no choice but to comply.
- Pierre R. Garai (advertising executive) 1963