It’s easy to take good regulation for granted, after all, most regulations exist to prevent undesirable consequences. But what is far less appreciated are the economic health dividends that can flow when regulatory settings that assists industry good standing as well as putting in place controls.
One of the reasons Australia boasts such a developed and innovative vitamins, minerals and supplements market is because of its mature and responsive regulatory settings. Based on firm scientific evidence, Australia treats this group of therapeutic products as low risk in consumer safety terms, whilst ensuring they are only made to the highest global standards.“This puts Australia’s federal government in a trusted and beneficial position to reach out and help educate global regulators in other countries to achieve best-practice.”
This in turn makes it relatively simple for industry to bring these products to market, meaning that businesses can test, trial and roll-out products without major health risks to consumers — and within commercial sensibilities.
Here, consumers are protected by three ‘pathway to market’ models. These require that food products must meet the relevant Food Standards Australia New Zealand criteria, while complementary medicines are governed by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) as low risk ‘listed’ products. (The TGA also governs products above low risk giving the model it’s third arm).
This framework is strongly supported by the Australian industry.
World class oversight fosters world leading products
It’s no surprise that Australia’s complementary medicines sector has evolved into a world class industry that supports not only the wellbeing of Australians, but also directly creates 6000 high-value jobs across science, research and development, innovation, advanced manufacturing and exports.
Complementary health medicines are sold through more than 5500 pharmacies, 3500 supermarkets and 1500 health food stores across Australia.
Our system supports an industry that is working hard to keep-up with demand, which has never been higher for complementary medicines. Since 2011, Australia’s complementary medicine industry has grown from $2.3 billion to $3.1 billion a year, buoyed by increasing local and Asian consumer acceptance of, and requirement for, quality products from reputable businesses.
Quicker to market
This nuanced and risk-regulated regulatory framework enables Australian complementary health companies — many of whom are constantly undertaking their own scientific trials — to bring new products to market often within 90 or 100 days.
In some countries, this evidence-informed risk relationship is not reflected in the process of bringing new complementary medicine products to market. It can take 90 to 100 months to bring a product to market, effectively hobbling the broader industry’s ability to bring new products to market.
In contrast, Australia’s forward-thinking approach is directly contributing to a booming complementary medicine export market, which has grown by 36% in the past two years alone. South Korea has now overtaken New Zealand as our top export market, while exports to the Asian region have doubled, with continued healthy demand for Australian complementary medicine products.
Exporting safety and success
This strong growth is driven by the industry’s reputation for products that meet the highest standards of quality and safety.
Australian complementary health products are also exported to China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Brazil, Canada, the United States, Germany, Indonesia and more every single week, with global demand outstripping supply.
These countries and more are looking for ways to evolve their regulatory regimes to move toward the risk-based model the industry operates under here in Australia. This puts Australia’s federal government in a trusted and beneficial position to reach out and help educate global regulators in other countries to achieve best-practice.
This in turn fosters Australia’s good standing in the international community as trading partner that cares about public good both at home and abroad.
The complementary health industry is leading the way on this front, collectively organising an upcoming industry outreach mission to China in December 2016. This fact-finding mission will be attended by company leaders at 10 of the country’s top complementary health businesses in the first of its kind industry outreach project.
Participating companies include Lipa Pharmaceuticals, Swisse, Caruso and Integria, who are each committed to assisting like-minded complementary health brands in China understand the framework that supports the booming Australian industry.
Meanwhile, the federal government is also realising enormous untapped potential exists for the burgeoning complementary medicines sector to contribute to the Australian economy.
The opportunity consists of both economic contribution (jobs, manufacturing, innovation, exports), as well as in improved consumer health outcomes, which lead to downstream savings in the health system.
It means that right now, the complementary health sector is one that could grow exponentially, with the right support, and provide a significant boost to Australia’s export earnings and bolster the country’s struggling manufacturing sector.
Already, the country’s 59 licenced manufacturing sites for complementary medicines are experiencing major expansion due to the huge global demand for their regulated products.
Room for improvement
And while the complementary industry is well ahead of the curve globally, ensuring the right related regulatory environment continues to evolve to gold standard while maintaining consumer safety, and allowing industry development and innovation to deliver improved consumer health outcomes.