Cloe Read, The Sunday Mail (Qld)
17th November 2019
Heavyweight retailers have joined a campaign to stop a major shake-up of a $1.1 billion industry that could potentially lead to company closures, job cuts and less choice for consumers.
THOUSANDS of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars could be lost if Australia’s national regulator moves to classify sports and health supplements as therapeutic goods, major retailers say.
Industry heavyweight retailers Nutrition Warehouse and Australian Sports Nutrition are among up to 20 companies that have backed the Save Aussie Supplements Campaign, which launches today, out of fear the $1.1 billion industry will be potentially destroyed with company closures, thousands of job cuts and less choice for consumers.
The campaign was launched over concerns that 70,000 products could be stripped from shelves if Therapeutic Goods Administration reforms go ahead.
The TGA review follows the deaths of two people – one using pure caffeine powder and another with an underlying renal protein condition who used a protein powder.
Nutrition Warehouse general manager Tony Shaw said the TGA’s proposed reforms would have an “unprecedented economic impact”.
“The TGA’s proposal indicates that the two so-called ‘problem’ items of protein and caffeine do not even form part of this proposed reclassification,” he said.
“We believe this TGA proposal could greatly reduce the Australian supplement market and therefore consumers’ freedom of choice, forcing them to import their supplements from unregulated overseas providers, decreasing safety – which is what the TGA is ultimately trying to improve.
“This will negatively impact the Australian economy.
“With more people ordering products internationally, the TGA proposal will reduce the number of Australian jobs.”
Australian Sports Nutrition general manager Sarah West said there were fears the proposed reforms would force sport and health supplement businesses to close their doors.
“The scope of jobs impacted across retail, manufacturing, distribution, and the consumer impact, could be significant if the industry is not given … time to consult,” she said.
The TGA said in its proposal that sports supplements meeting the proposed terms were therapeutic goods (medicines) and the move would provide “greater clarity as to the regulatory status of these goods”.
The proposed reform aims to ensure a range of safeguards are adhered to, including that products do not contain the wrong active ingredient, that the product claims are supported by evidence, and the advertising does not promote excessive or inappropriate use.