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Govt and the non-prescription medicines industry

Media Release

Grant Tambling

Wednesday 4 August 1999

Senator Tambling reinforces a strong partnership between Government and the non-prescription medicines industry.

"The non-prescription medicines industry has played a strong part in fostering and developing a new and collaborative partnership," the Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Aged Care, Senator Tambling, said today.

"A number of initiatives have been taken up in recent months and there are more on the agenda," Senator Tambling said.

"Australia enjoys an international reputation for the high public health and safety standards which apply to all our medicines and this will be vigorously maintained by the Government. In recent times, we have been promoting an approach which acknowledges industry's role in promoting responsible co-regulatory arrangements. Industry has been encouraged to play a stronger role in formulating positions and working closely with the Therapeutic Goods Administration in delivering workable and cost effective outcomes" he said.

Speaking at the Proprietary Medicines Association of Australia (PMAA) annual conference in Sydney entitled Health from the Shelf - The Consumer's Choice on Wednesday, Senator Tambling outlined developments in this growing and important industry sector.

"We acknowledge the role of all participants in the healthcare spectrum. As the representative organisation of the non-prescription medicine industry, the PMAA enjoys a special place in the Australian healthcare sector," Senator Tambling said.

As part of a post-marketing focus, the rules covering the advertising of therapeutic goods to the general public, outlined in the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code, are under review, in consultation with industry.

"The review is expected to enhance the existing co-regulatory arrangements for advertising. There is a great deal of promise in this area. Much credit goes to the PMAA in creating a very positive environment within which we can rethink our approach." Senator Tambling said.

Senator Tambling reiterated the importance of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Review of each State and Territories drugs and poisons legislation.

"This is a critical review under the competition principles which should have a lasting impact on the non-prescription medicines section including reductions in labelling and compliance costs and an improvement in the competitive position of Australia's experiences."

Noting the PMAA motto of "Better Health Through Responsible Self-Medication", Senator Tambling praised the commitment of the PMAA to education and information for consumers of non-prescription medicines.

"Consumers manage about 75 % of their health problems without recourse to professional help. Responsible self-medication is an integral part of our healthcare system, and will be reflected in a National Medicines Policy which is to be finalised by the end of this year", Senator Tambling said.

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