Complementary Medicines Australia (CMA), the peak industry body representing the complementary medicines sector, welcomes the Australian Government's recent budget announcement, which highlights its commitment to strengthening the health system and improving regulatory oversight.
CMA welcomes the announcement of longer-term funding towards the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) Health Products Regulation Group, which has committed an additional $61 million over four years for public good activities. This implements a key recommendation supported in CMA’s pre-budget submission to address the impact of fee-free services and under recovered areas critical to the regulatory framework.
The budget allocation recognises the importance of maintaining the highest standards of compliance and enforcement for products and companies operating outside the regulatory system. With this increased funding, the TGA will be better equipped to identify and take action against non-compliant entities, ensuring the safety and quality of complementary medicines available to Australian consumers and the world.
Additionally, the budget provides support for managing medicines and medical device shortages, a crucial aspect in safeguarding public health. The TGA's enhanced capabilities in this area will enable swift and effective responses to supply chain disruptions, ensuring that consumers will have continued access to vital medicines when they need them the most.
Another significant component of the budget allocation is directed towards providing information to both consumers and healthcare professionals. This investment recognises the importance of transparent and accurate information in empowering individuals to make informed decisions about their health. CMA commends the government's commitment to ensuring that Australians have access to reliable information regarding medicines, enabling them to make choices that align with their healthcare needs.
Furthermore, the budget reaffirms the government's continued assistance to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), particularly those involved in developing emerging technologies. This support is vital for fostering innovation and growth within the complementary medicines sector. CMA welcomes this commitment and looks forward to collaborating with the government to drive the preventative health agenda and advancements in complementary medicine research and development.
While CMA acknowledges the positive developments in the budget, significant challenges persist for the complementary medicines sector.
Of particular concern is the cost-recovery burden imposed on the broader medicines industry due to the recent move of the TGA to new facilities in Canberra. With some $72.8 m of the costs considered payable at $4.85 m per year for 15 years by the industry, this will require an additional increase above indexation of 5.89% to industries annual charges if not paid elsewhere in the department. Furthermore, the cost recovery of the digital business transformation will add another $23.3 m for the second and final tranche, payable by industry.
The TGA requires a more sustainable way to recover such costs and CMA supports a decision by the Government for an appropriate funding mechanism for these items.
CMA remains committed to working collaboratively with the Australian Government on preventative health and the TGA to foster a thriving and responsible complementary medicines sector. The CMA welcomes the budget's investment in the health system and looks forward to continued engagement that promotes the health and wellbeing of all Australians.