Last week our wonderful General Manager went on a journey into the depths of Brisbane to attend a TGA Advertising Guidelines seminar. The reason? To find out the guidelines that we need to abide by when talking herbs for healing, especially on line. We thought we'd share with you some of the pearls that were uncovered about what you can and can't say about Therapeutic Goods:
"Much to my (and the other attendant herbalist’s) frustration, they were incredibly vague about how you distinguish between a herbal medicine and a food. Basically, it's up to them to decide on a case by case basis, but questions like these will affect their decision:
‐ Is the herb being advertised as having a therapeutic effect?
‐ Is the herb something that has traditionally been used as a tea/food or as a medicine?
‐ Is the herb in a format that would have been traditionally used? ie: tea vs capsules.
The other gem I learned is that it is illegal to say, infer or imply that a registered medicine (ie ALL pharmaceuticals on the market) are ineffective or harmful.. hmmmm..... That means that you can't legally say that Prozac is bad for you, or that Aspirin causes kidney damage. So much for freedom of speech.
In summary, my opinion is that although all the rules they have put in place are actually really necessary to keep pharmaceutical companies in line, and in this sense the TGA are acting in good faith trying to protect the gullible public from evil pharma advertising, something really went wrong. It makes no sense to treat Damiana with the same stringency as Prozac... An entirely different regulatory system for herbal medicines is where we should be going in my opinion..."