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Australian Self Medication Industry Press Releases

Issue: Issue 82: May 2009
Author: Bob Bowden

For over 30 years, the Australian Self-Medication Industry has represented companies involved in the manufacture and distribution of non-prescription consumer healthcare products and related firms.
ASMI is the peak industry body for the Australian self-care industry including consumer healthcare products ranging from over-the-counter medicines (OTC) to complementary medicines
Also represented by ASMI are companies providing manufacturers with services, such as advertising, public relations, regulatory consultancy, legal advice and industry statistics.

Topics for this month:

 * ASMI welcomes Pfizer Australia as new member

Caution urged over restrictions on medicines containing codeine




ASMI welcomes Pfizer Australia as new member

Australia’s largest pharmaceutical company, Pfizer Australia, has been welcomed by the Australian Self-Medication Industry (ASMI), as its newest member.

ASMI is the industry body representing over-the-counter (OTC) and complementary medicines.

ASMI Executive Director, Juliet Seifert, said the addition of Pfizer Australia to ASMI’s membership base comes at a critical time for the sector.

“We are very pleased to welcome Pfizer as our newest member. Our growing membership base reflects the recognition that much of the industry’s prospects rest on the success in convincing regulators and policy makers of the merits of greater access to safe, effective OTC medicines.

“ASMI has consistently taken a robust stance on issues of appropriate regulation, switching of medicines from prescription to OTC status, and the benefits of appropriate advertising.

“With increasing calls for greater regulation in both the OTC and complementary medicines sectors, there is a need for a strong voice to represent the views of industry.

“The organisation is delighted that a number of recent government policy documents have embraced the notion of self-care, involving greater personal responsibility for health - a position ASMI has strongly proposed in key submissions and policy papers.”

Pfizer Australia and New Zealand General Manager, Established Products, Mark Crotty said membership of ASMI reflects the growth opportunities that Pfizer Australia sees in the OTC market.

“Our investment in a more diverse range of products, including an increased range of OTC products means that there are distinct advantages in being part of a strong national industry body,” he said.

Recently, Valeant Pharmaceuticals became an ASMI member. The international pharmaceutical company produces a range of non-prescription products, including Nyal.

About ASMI: The Australian Self-Medication Industry (ASMI) is the peak industry body for the Australian self care industry representing consumer healthcare products including over-the-counter medicines and complementary medicines. ASMI’s mission is to promote better health through responsible self-care. This means ensuring that safe and effective self-care products are readily available to all Australians at a reasonable cost. ASMI works to encourage responsible use by consumers and an increasing role for cost-effective self-medication products as part of the broad national health strategy.


Caution urged over restrictions on medicines containing codeine

The Australian Self-Medication Industry (ASMI), the industry body representing non-prescription consumer healthcare products, today warned that thousands of Australians could be inconvenienced in the event of new restrictions on over-the-counter analgesics and cough/cold medicines containing codeine.

The National Drugs and Poisons Schedule Committee (NDPSC) has been examining reports of misuse of analgesics containing codeine and has foreshadowed the possibility of restrictions on access and reduced pack sizes.

The Scientific Director of ASMI, Dr Deon Schoombie, said while no final decision had been taken, the industry was concerned at the prospect of changes that could limit consumers’ access to these medicines.

“While there have been isolated reports of abuse, the products have a long history of safe use when used according to label instructions, and the vast majority of consumers use the products appropriately.

“These medicines play an important role in relieving strong pain and addressing the symptoms of cold and flu, and any move to restrict their availability would be an enormous inconvenience to thousands of responsible users,” he said.

“It is important that a balance is achieved between the activities of a small minority who may choose to abuse the product, and the thousands of consumers who use it responsibly and safely.

“We need to consider not only the risks, but also the benefits associated with the use of a medicine. We believe there is already a level of regulation appropriate to the product’s efficacy and safety profile.

“We do not believe that the measures proposed by the NDPSC will reduce the very low risk of harm among those who abuse or misuse the products,” Dr Schoombie said.




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