The support that the recent Therapeutic Goods Amendment Bill received from both policy-makers and from industry is a timely reminder that natural medicine is firmly ingrained in the healthcare landscape.
It presents a significant opportunity for natural medicines that can only be realised by continuing to invest in research.
The body of clinical evidence has continued to grow, helping us understand everything from efficacy to interactions. This journey of discovery will continue – my father used to remind me that the quest for better health is never-ending.
One of the areas where we have a knowledge gap is to understand the reasons people use naturopathy and other complementary medicines, how they make decisions about the medicines and the therapies they use and how practitioners including naturopaths connect and communicate with mainstream hospital and primary care systems.
The Australian Research Centre in Complementary and Integrative Medicine at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS: ARCCIM), led by Distinguished Professor of Public Health and Australian Research Council Professorial Future Fellow Jon Adams, is seeking to progress this important work.
That’s why my wife, Caroline, and I are proud to partner with BioCeuticals to contribute $1.5 million to ARCCIM to support research into naturopathy and other complementary medicine. ARCCIM is a world-leading critical public health and health services research centre focusing on traditional, complementary and integrative health care that brings together experts in epidemiology and health economics. Its work has received substantial government research funding, including prestigious research fellowships from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the Australian Research Council (ARC).
Our contribution does not reflect either generosity or goodwill. It is because we have an unswerving and ongoing responsibility to our consumers and to the practitioners who treat them. This research will be Australia-focused and national in scale and independent, since the donation is untied and the centre will design and apply it as it sees fit.
The momentum of evidence-based natural medicine must be more than marketing claims or lip service – it must be underpinned by a strong program of research.
Australian natural healthcare is vibrant and growing, enjoying strong public and practitioner support and I passionately encourage our friends and colleagues across this industry to seek to fulfil their social obligation by investing back into the community who support us.
*This opinion piece was originally published in Nutraingredients