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Australian Complementary Medicine Labels Should Be Mandatory

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Australian Complementary Medicine Labels Should Be Mandatory

No Tests, Labels For Drugs

Prescription drug labels are subject to rigorous standards for good reason. However, complementary medicines in Australia are not as stringently regulated and do not have strong enough labeling procedures to guard against medication mistakes, an Australian consumer watchdog said.

Only 2 percent of complementary medicines - vitamins, minerals, aromatherapy, herbal and homeoopathic remedies - are tested by the country's drug regulators, said the Consumers Health Forum of Australia (CHFA). The low rate is cause for some alarm, the CHFA said, and more testing and labels are necessary to protect consumers.

Advocates Push For Labels
Carol Bennett, CHFA chief, said labels are needed to protect Australian consumers who use complementary medicines, which is a big business: The Sydney Morning Herald said Australians spend more than $1 billion each year on such medicines.

"We want people to know they haven't been tested, and in some cases they can be ineffective or even harmful," she said."Two-thirds of Australians are using these products, and we just want people to be better informed about what is a very limited and light-touch regulatory process."