Other than liquid herbal medines, I carry a very small range of selected products. Most of these, like the herbs, are classed “practitioner only” under the Therapeutic Goods Act. There is some confusion over what this means and unfortunately much of this is caused by health food stores and some pharmacies dispensing these products outside the guidelines of the agreement.
In 1990 an agreement was formed between the naturopathic/herbal associations in Australia and the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for registered practitioners (in this case members of approved associations) to dispense “practitioner only” medicines in conjunction with a consultation.
The medicines, while approved by the TGA, don’t require the same extra labeling as over the counter (OTC) products. It is expected that the practitioner has a record of the consultation and explains the directions of use of the product.
If a practitioner operates in a health food store or pharmacy, practitioner-only products must not be kept in public view (in a cupboard or under the counter), as these products are to be dispensed by (registered) practitioners only. The products can only be sold to the customer in conjunction with a written record of the consultation with the registered practitioner (no other staff) or with a prescription from a registered practitioner.
There are a multitude of reasons for the development of this agreement. Many of the products are stronger than their OTC counterparts or are not designed for long term, unsupervised use.
• Treat all complementary and pharmaceutical medicines with respect.
• Do not use other people’s prescription or “practitioner only” medicines.
• Take herbs and vitamins only as directed, in consultation with your qualified healthcare practitioner.
• Don’t forget to throw out expired medicines; most pharmacies will collect old drugs and supplements to be destroyed appropriately.