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06 Jan 2015

CHF Complementary Medicines Discussion Paper

The Consumers Health Forum of Australia (CHF) is the national peak body representing the interests of Australian healthcare consumers. CHF works to achieve safe, quality, timely healthcare for all Australians, supported by accessible health information and systems.

For many years, CHF has worked with the National Prescribing Service (NPS) to provide consumer feedback on issues relating to the quality use of medicines. In 2011, NPS is reviewed the information use and needs of people who use complementary medicines. As part of this work, it developed a comprehensive research paper and sought consumer input from CHF.

BCNA provided a submission to CHF to help inform its response to the NPS.

Our key points included that:

  • consumers should be encouraged to discuss their use of complementary medicines with their doctor/s, as some complementary medicines can interfere with conventional medicines, including breast cancer treatments
  • good quality research on the interaction between some of the more widely used complementary medicines and conventional breast cancer treatments should be undertaken so women can make informed decisions on their use
  • consumers should be able to easily find information about complementary medicines they are considering using, including their effectiveness, any possible side-effects and any possible interactions with other medications
  • consumers should be able to easily find information explaining the process for the listing of complementary medicines in Australia, including that complementary medicines are not always tested for efficacy and effectiveness, and that the Therapeutic Goods Administration does not require evidence of efficacy and effectiveness before approving applications for listing of complementary medicines


BCNA acknowledges and thanks the following BCNA Advocates for their assistance in producing this submission:

  • Geraldine Robertson (ACT)
  • Jill Hicks (Vic)

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