N.Z. Pharmacy pulls homeopathy after Advertising Standards complaint upheld

See this report from science based pharmacy.

On 14 April 2014, I submitted a formal complaint about the promotion of the same product (called Jet-ease in Australia) to the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Complaint Resolution Panel  (TGACRP).

I alleged that the information provided on Jet-ease web site breached a number of sections of the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code, especially the statement that it had, “been proven effective in a clinical trial”.

I also noted that this product was promoted and sold in a large number of airport pharmacies, health stores and other outlets: http://www.jetease.com.au/auretail.html.

On June 2, 2014 I was informed the complaint had been sent to the Therapeutic Goods Administration “because of the possible breach of section 42DL(1)(g) of the Act (the product may not be on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods)”.

On June 19, 2014 the TGA acknowledged receipt of this (and other complaints about homeopathic products) but subsequently I have heard no more.

Meanwhile, promotion in Australia continues unchanged.

It would seem that the N.Z. regulatory system is much more efficient than the Australian one!

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About Dr Ken Harvey

Public Health Physician, Medical activitist
This entry was posted in Complementary medicine, Pharmaceutical Promotion and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to N.Z. Pharmacy pulls homeopathy after Advertising Standards complaint upheld

  1. Mark Hanna says:

    That sounds really frustrating. Here in New Zealand, our Medicines Act requires that any medicine (which includes homeopathic products if therapeutic claims are made about them on labels or in advertising) can only be sold with the permission of the Minister of Health. We haven’t taken this route with No-Jet-Lag yet but may do in the future.

    I really can’t see any sense in only regulating these products if they’re also registered, I hope I misunderstand the Australian system but it sounds entirely ineffective.

    It’s interesting that it’s marketed under different names in different countries though: “Jet-Ease” in Australia and “No-Jet-Lag” in New Zealand. I don’t suppose you have any idea why this is the case?

    • Mark said, “I really can’t see any sense in only regulating these products if they’re also registered”

      In Australia, most commercial homoeopathic preparations that are more dilute than a 1,000 fold dilution of a mother tincture (4X and above) are not required to be listed or registered on the ARTG as they are considered to be sufficiently low risk. In addition, homoeopathic medicines prepared by practitioners specifically for an individual patient, after consultation with that patient, do not need to be entered on the ARTG.

      http://www.tga.gov.au/industry/cm-argcm-part-a-05.htm#.VESrQPmUd8E

      These exemption from TGA regulation have resulted in the marketing of products as homeopathic somatropin and homeopathic melatonin that bear no relation to traditional homeopathic principles.

      Increased TGA regulation of homeopathic products has therefore been recommended but has yet to be implemented!

      http://www.tga.gov.au/archive/consult-cm-homoeopathic-080901.htm#.VESJuPmUd8E

      The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) recently conducted an assessment of the current evidence available relating to the effectiveness of homoeopathy (the Homeopathy Review).

      https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/your-health/complementary-medicines/homeopathy-review

      On 9 April 2014, the NHMRC sought feedback on a draft information paper: Evidence on the effectiveness of homeopathy for treating health conditions (the Information Paper) which provides a summary of NHMRC’s assessment of the evidence on homeopathy. The Information Paper concludes that there is no reliable evidence to support the efficacy of homeopathy. However, before finalisation, the draft Information Paper is subject to public consultation. The purpose of the consultation is to ensure that the relevant evidence has been identified and appropriately considered in the development of NHMRC paper.

      The TGA has stated that they not revisit regulatory reform of homeopathic medicines until they have properly considered the implications of the NHMRC public consultation and any final Information Paper.

      Mark asked, “It’s interesting that it’s marketed under different names in different countries though: “Jet-Ease” in Australia and “No-Jet-Lag” in New Zealand. I don’t suppose you have any idea why this is the case?”

      NO!

  2. Mark Hanna says:

    Thanks for your explanation. I think it certainly makes sense that medicine safety is subject to more regulation than medicine efficacy, but no regulatory system should allow even the safest of medicines (or other products advertised or used like medicines) to have wide-reaching and untrue claims of efficacy made about them.

    On the one hand – this can make them unsafe. Relying on an ineffective treatment – even one with no negative effects of its own – for something serious puts the person using it at risk. Aside from that, and I’d hope this should be very clear, misleading people about what something can do for their health is wrong. It’s called health fraud (I’m a fan of the FDA’s definition here: http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ProtectYourself/HealthFraud/ucm272203.htm), and people should be protected from it.

    I think Randall Munroe (of xkcd fame) put it very well in the alt text of this comic: http://xkcd.com/971/

    “I just noticed CVS has started stocking homeopathic pills on the same shelves with–and labeled similarly to–their actual medicine. Telling someone who trusts you that you’re giving them medicine, when you know you’re not, because you want their money, isn’t just lying–it’s like an example you’d make up if you had to illustrate for a child why lying is wrong.”

  3. Ken Harvey says:

    Response from TGA

    From: Mick O’Connor [mailto:mick.o’connor@tga.gov.au]
    Sent: Friday, 24 October 2014 10:21 AM
    To: Ken Harvey
    Cc: Trisha Garrett; Jane Cook; Judith Brimer
    Subject: RE: Complaint 2014/04/015 Jet Ease / No-Jet-Lag [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]

    Dear Dr Harvey,

    Thank you for you emails of 13 and 14 October.

    In response to your query, I can provide the following updates with respect to the matters raised.

    Engystol – Following the Advertising Unit contact with the Australian Society for Bioregulatory Medicine (ASBRM), the article (subject of your complaint) has since been removed from its website. The ASBRM advised that the webpage featuring Engystol was intended to be accessed by practitioners only with a log in, and was concerned to learn that the full text article was available through a simple internet search.

    hCG-Pathics – this matter is ongoing.

    Jet Ease – The sponsor has made a number of changes to its Australian Jet Ease website following our contact, including removing references to ‘scientifically proven’, ‘rigorously tested’, ‘safe’/’no side effects’ and the amendments to the presentation of the results of its airline survey. Thank you for forwarding the New Zealand determination relating to an advertisement for the same product in New Zealand. We have reviewed the New Zealand determination will be making follow-up enquiries with the Australian sponsor of the product.

    Regards

    Mick O’Connor
    Director
    Recalls and Advertising Section
    Office of Product Review

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