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  1. 1
    Melissa Sweet

    Melissa Sweet

    This New York Times article highlights an issue that is often overlooked in discussions about complementary health products and practices: their use by children and young people. It raises some questions worth considering, by parents and health professionals alike.

  2. 2


    The NPS identified that consumers number 1 choice is their GP to tell them about CM. I hope that when the NPS announce their recommendations on the CM database, their choice of resource should be a compulsory addition to medical training. It would also be a good idea to include it in pharmacy, nursing and naturopathy training.

    Currently when a complaint is submitted against an advert making incorrect health claims, the complainant has to include their own research. I also would like to see the Complaints Resolution Panel accept the conclusions of the NPS recommended database (eg if the monologue says the active ingredient is not effective) – it would save a lot of attachments.

    It will also be interesting to see if the TGA will bother reading the database before accepting new listings (eg for Glucosamine Hydrochloride which is considered not effective) – it might stop pharmacies from selling placebos (but I’m not optimistic on that one)

  3. 3

    Jon Hunt

    I think that one of the impediments for the recognition of complementary medicines by GPs is a reluctance to complicate things even more than they are. Time is short, people are waiting, and you don’t know what the significance of these “medicines” might be. You would have to take time to research it. You’re meant to ask about them of course, but it can seem just too hard at the time. Not a good excuse I agree, but I believe this is probably the case.

  4. 4

    Ken Harvey

    Jon’s concerns about the difficulty of finding evidence-based information on complementary medicines was reiterated by many doctors and pharmacists who responded to the NPS research questionnaires and focus groups.

    After all, if you ask patients if are they taking complementary medicines this is likely to prompt responses that need answering, such as, “could they interact with the other medication I’m on?” and “do you think they work?”.

    While we wait for the NPS (or TGA or government) to assist there are useful Internet sites &/or books that can help find out the answers to such questions, for example:

    Medline Plus:

    Braun L, Cohen M. Herbs and natural supplements. An evidence-based guide 2nd Ed. Elsevier Mosby, 2007

  5. 5


    With regard to education: a first step for any newly graduating doctor should be attendance at the short courses offered by the Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine ( Doctors (and other health professionals) find the information learned at this Melbourne college an absolute eye opener. The courses are open to any health professional, no matter how long since graduation, and everyone receives ongoing support. This is what patients want.


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