A segment on natural supplements went to air on Channel 9’s 60 Minutes on Sunday 10th Feb 2019, regarding adverse effects related to their use and raising questions around their quality, safety and efficacy.
We felt the segment presented an unbalanced view of the safety of natural supplements, of how these and other medicines are regulated in Australia, and that the adverse events presented failed to provide context around it in relation to overall quantity of natural health supplements purchased and consumed.
Below, we share some of the statistics related to adverse events concerning both natural health products and medicines in Australia, and how these are regulated.
* 41,000 adverse effects have been reported relating to natural medicines over a two year period, and only 1% of these were considered to be of a serious nature.
* This statistic can be compared to 650,000 hospital admissions per year in Australia related to adverse reactions to medications, all of which have been prescribed by a medical professional
* The adverse reports from taking natural supplements, do no differentiate between consumers who have self-prescribed via the internet, multi-level marketing or retail purchases, and those who have received professional advice.
* Regarding quality, our regulatory body for medicines, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), have stringent guidelines around labeling and content of ingredients for all products sold commercially in Australia ie. what is on the label is in the product, and vice versa.
As advocates for evidence-based integrative medicine which incorporates natural and nutritional supplements, we understand there is potential for adverse reactions with any therapeutic product including natural supplements.
This is why the Green Dispensary has health professionals with training in both natural and pharmaceutical medicines, to provide appropriate advice and consultation around their safe and effective use.