Letter to The Age 02/10/2017: Heed evidence

Consumer Affairs Victoria ordered Penguin to provide a “prominent warning” on all future books they publish about natural therapies (“Shining a spotlight on the self-help industry”, The Age, 30/9), explaining that the claims made are not evidence-based.

A similar disclaimer was recommended for all listed complementary medicines by a recent independent Medicines and Medical Devices Review. The Therapeutic Goods Administration trusts that sponsors hold evidence to support the claims made. Not surprisingly, in a regulatory system that provides no pre-market evaluation and no effective penalties for non-compliance, this trust is misplaced. Eighty per cent of the small number of products subjected to post-marketing reviews by the TGA are found non-compliant.

The government rejected the recommendation. It also rejected the findings of a review of natural therapies, set up with the NHMRC, to determine if these therapies should continue to attract a private health insurance rebate. Despite finding no clear evidence that these therapies were clinically effective, the government declined to remove the rebate.

Dr Ken Harvey, Associate Professor, Monash University

http://www.theage.com.au/comment/the-age-letters/energy-supplies–when-a-solution-is-just-a-breakdown-in-logic-20171001-gys65q.html (Scroll down)

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About Dr Ken Harvey

Public Health Physician, Medical activitist
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