On 29 January, 2018, a meeting took place between officials from the Department of Health and representatives from the Complementary Medicine sector to discuss issues impacting the natural medicine sector:
- the National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Homeopathy Review,
- the announced cuts to the health fund rebate for natural therapies,
- and (in particular) the proposed Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) reforms to the regulation of homoeopathic products.
The meeting was attended by the Secretary for Health, Glenys Beauchamp, and senior Health officials, including the head of the TGA, the CEO of the NHMRC and Australia’s Chief Medical Officer. To provide cross-industry representation at such a high level meeting, representatives from other industry/ association bodies, impacted by current Health/ TGA reforms, were also invited to attend alongside Complementary Medicines Australia (CMA) and AHA's President, Gerry Dendrinos. These included Brauer Natural Medicine, Martin & Pleasance, the Australian Traditional Medicine Society, Complementary Medicines Association and expert legal representation.
The AHA's place at the table was a result of its initiative with regards to the Your Health Your Choice campaign and inquiries/ submissions by the campaign to government regarding these proposed changes. The YHYC campaign is currently backed by over 75,000 sign-ups and has been successful in drawing public and government attention to these issues.
The meeting was an important milestone in presenting cross-sector unity to government and having major issues of concern openly aired, particularly those relating to the bureaucracy’s approach to the homoeopathy and natural medicines sector. The AHA will continue to represent the homoeopathic profession to government, working in collaboration with its natural medicine partners.