Booming Complementary Medicines Industry

herbal complementary medicines

Booming Complementary Medicines Industry

Fast facts about the Australian Complementary Medicines Industry:

  • Has grown from $2.3 billion to $4.2 billion in just 2 years.*
  • 6,000 direct high value jobs.*
  • Exports to more than 26 countries.*
  • 75 licensed complementary medicines manufacturers.


In a recent interview Mr Carl Gibson, Chief Executive Officer Complementary Medicines Australia, said  “Over the last two years we have seen exports of Australian complementary medicines grow 36%. South Korea has now overtaken New Zealand as our top export market”.  “This demand for Australian complementary medicines by Asian consumers can be attributed to several factors, including our industry’s reputation for quality products that meet the highest standards of safety and efficacy. The regulation of complementary medicines in Australia by the TGA as medicines, including the requirement to meet standards around Good Manufacturing Practice, means a regulatory vigour that is one of the most highly regarded in the world. This means that consumers are assured of the high quality and safety of products that they purchase.” he said.

What makes Australian products of such high quality?

The product quality Mr Gibson was referring to is driven by the Australian Code of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP). As a colleague recently quipped, GMP prevents “Gross Mal Practice”.

However there is a problem. The current Australian code Good Manufacturing Practice is a direct copy of a superseded 2009 (version 8) of the exacting and internationally recognized PIC/S code of GMP. With the latest international version of PIC/S being no.12, this means many of the 48 authorities who subscribe to PIC/S have even more progressive regulations in place for their manufacturers. This means competitors of Australian manufacturers have higher quality standards in place, putting our enviable international reputation at risk. As a quality practitioner, I have often seen first-hand just how quickly quality reputations are lost. Most of us can recall the melamine scandal in China and its impacts on the New Zealand dairy industry and that’s just one example.

Surely the only way to ensure a prosperous future for our Australian manufacturers is to differentiate our products on the basis of superior quality? Can we do more?

*Source – CMA website –  January 2016

Read more on complementary medicines here and here.

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