Skepticon 2019, TGA, ACCC, Regulatory Panel Discussion

The Australian Skeptics National Convention returned to the University of Melbourne’s Carrillo Gantner Theatre on 7th and 8th December 2019. One feature was a regulatory panel discussion: Could Australian regulators better protect consumers from misleading and dangerous advertising of products making therapeutic claims?

Ken Harvey, Session Chair
Ken Harvey (Chair) introducing case studies for discussion by the panel

Background: From July 2018 the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) took over the advertising complaint system from the Complaint Resolution Panel (CRP). The TGA were given increased compliance and enforcement powers that the CRP lacked.

The TGA also declared certain products that had received numerous complaints not to be therapeutic goods, thus hand-balling regulatory responsibility to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC). The latter complained they were already overloaded, and a specialist regulator was more appropriate.

Meanwhile, controversial promotion of products at the food-medicine interface, such as self-declared sports supplements and medical foods, highlighted problems with Food Safety Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), State and Territory Food authorities, and their interrelationship with the TGA. There was also concern about the TGA’s new complaint system.

Panel members:

  • Nicholas Heys, Deputy General Manager, Enforcement Coordination, Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC).
  • John Skerritt, Deputy Secretary for Health Products Regulation, Australian Department of Health.
  • Julie Woods, Discipline Leader (Nutrition), Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University (unfortunately unable to make it due to illness).

Chair and Session organiser:

Presenters:

Photos

Basia Diug
Basia Diug
Paulina Stehlik
Paulina Stehlik
Mal Vickers
Mal Vickers
The Monash Team: Mal, Basia & Ken
The Monash Team: Mal, Basia & Ken
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About Dr Ken Harvey

Public Health Physician, Medical activitist
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