Regulatory and legislative protections for consumers in complementary medicine: Lessons from Australian policy and legal developments

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Journal Article
European Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2014, 6 (4), pp. 423 - 433
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© 2014 Elsevier GmbH. Introduction: Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use historically has been high in Australia, with Australia often an early adopter of regulatory and policy developments related to CAM, with varying degrees of success at ensuring consumer safety and protection with respect to both CAM products and CAM practitioners. Methods: This article uses a policy analysis framework to explore some of the outcomes of these developments and their implementation, reviews the success of legislative and regulatory approaches to ensuring consumer protection in CAM Australia has enacted, and examines the lessons that can be learnt from the Australian experience. Results: The Australian experience highlights the importance of developing health-specific legislative and regulatory guidelines, ensuring that regulators are actively empowered to fulfil their functions, and avoiding a reliance on self-regulatory authorities to fulfil roles better performed by statutory authorities. Conclusions: These experiences may assist decision-makers and public authorities to develop regulatory and legislative protections that are practical, sustainable and appropriately fulfil their public protection role. This article belongs to the Special Issue: Ensuring and Improving Patients' Safety in Integrative Health Care.
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