During June and July 2018 the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) conducted a survey of Australian adults. It employed a dual sampling methodology: a quota driven population-based sample (Panel) and an Opt-in sample sourced through known TGA contacts, networks and consumer stakeholders. The sample included a mix of the Australian population and includes participation across age, gender, all states and territories and metropolitan and regional locations.
A total of 1,729 responses to the survey were recorded during the survey period; 1,045 (60%) responses were received via the population based (Panel) sample, with the remaining 684 (40%) responses received through the Opt-in sample.
There was a considerable gender and age difference between the two groups: females;
Panel, 50% compared to Opt-in, 66% and age over 55: Panel, 33% compared to
Opt-in, 50%. However, the groups did not differ in complementary use, around half of each sample reported they used these medicines.
Overall, the responses showed that there were considerable concerns held by survey participants relating to statements about complementary medicines
- Complementary medicines are safe: Panel 38.5%; Opt-in 25.8%
- Appropriately regulated: Panel 32.2%; Opt-in 14.5%
- Manufactured to high standard: Panel 38.4%; Opt-in 20.6%
- Trusted: Panel 37.6%; Opt-in 23.9%
- Government monitors safety: Panel 41.8%; Opt-in 18.2%
Across the range of measures relating to complementary medicines, 18-34-year old’s consistently show the highest level of nett agreement with the above statements and those in the 55-plus group show the lowest levels of nett agreement.
The results for other medicines showed higher positive responses to the same questions reflecting the difference between the “light-touch” regulatory standards for complementary medicines compared to the higher standards applied for other medicines.
An ongoing focus on addressing and responding to consumer concerns about complementary medicines was recommended.by