Complementary medicine also includes herbal medicines, traditional medicines, vitamins, minerals, nutritional supplements, homeopathic remedies, and aromatherapy products.
Complementary medicines are under the regulation of non-prescription drugs; they also include both registered and listed therapeutic goods. Complementary medicines are different from (OTC) drugs in terms of their use. Complementary drugs often do not rely on evidence of efficacy, and one of these complementary drugs – herbal medicines are based on traditional knowledge. Under the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), complementary medicines must be scientifically evaluated to become listed or registered as therapeutic goods (Australia Government, 2007). And in order to be listed as complementary medicines, they must be essentially safe in the form they are presented. Efficacy of the medicines may or may not also be established through clinical trials. The dose and form of the active ingredients may vary and the sponsor may then provide an effective dose for therapeutic purposes. An “AUST L” number is assigned by the TGA and is later indicated in the label. This would mean that it is a listed product. Careful reading is essential for the imposition of effective doses especially considering the range of plant parts used and the method of processing of the drug. If the product indicates increased reports for treatment of serious illnesses, it must then be approved as a registered product and be given an “AUS R” number on the label. Evidence for safety and efficacy will rely on the possible adverse effects of the drug during its use. All products must be labelled in English and indicate the active ingredients, recommended dosage, indication and such other information (Australian Government, 2007). This is because “the quality standards for therapeutic goods in Australia are delivered through good manufacturing practice (GMP).