Crackdown looms on complementary medicinal products

Posted 09 May 2016

This article by Tamar Kahn in Business Day Live, reports on the MCC claiming to be gearing up to seize “scores of illegal products claiming to treat diabetes, heart disease, cancer and viral illnesses”. The complementary medicines regulations, which were gazetted on November 15 2013, allowed firms to continue selling complementary medicines until they were called up for assessment by the council, starting with those deemed most risky. Only those that applied for registration as a CAM may continue to be sold until their submission has been assessed, and accepted or rejected. What is remarkable is how few complementary medicines have been submitted for registration.

The report quotes Mr Norman Fels, Chairperson of the Health Products Association (HPA), as stating that “the low response rate from the industry suggested companies were experiencing problems with the process, rather than ignoring the regulations”. However, several … Read the rest

D-day for complementary weight loss medicines?

On 15 November 2013 the Minister of Health finally published Regulations to the Medicines Act (Medicines and Related Substances Act, 1965 (Act 101 of 1965), not for comment, but for implementation. They defined complementary medicines for the first time in South Africa. In addition the Regulations incrementally “called up” various complementary medicines over the following six years.

If a product that has been called up, and has not been registered, or an application for registration has not been received by the MCC, then according to the Medicines Act (Section 14(1)) it may no longer be sold.

The Regulations also created a new category of medicines – category D – which are complementary medicines “subdivided into such disciplines as may be determined by the Council after consultation with the Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa.”

This left “dietary supplements” out in the cold and the Health Products Association … Read the rest

‘Magic’ vs science: Matter of choice

Posted 18 May 2015

This article titled ‘Magic’ vs science: Matter of choice, published in the Mail & Guardian on 14 May 2015, is written by Joan Koka, a master’s student from the University of Missouri, Columbia, and presently an intern with the Mail & Guardian’s health journalism centre, Bhekisisa. She discusses homeopathy, CAMS and the Health Products Association approach to the Pretoria High Court regarding the government’s legislative amendments governing CAMS.

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Herbex and HPA’s arguments ring hollow – ASA Final Appeal Committee Ruling

Posted 17 October 2014

regan-hpa-herbexAfter more than a year of rulings, appeals, delays, and ultimately the Final Appeal Committee (FAC), former Constitutional Court Judge, Kate O’Regan and the Committee, brought additional clarity to the ASA.  (For brevity’s sake please accept that my references below to “Judge O’Regan” refer also to the Committee.)


  • Herbex claimed that the original substantiation by a medical doctor that Herbex worked, should stand. Judge O’Regan showed that the doctor had misread and contradicted the very evidence that he had provided in support of his substantiation. She rejected the substantiation.
  • Herbex introduced new substantiation into the final appeal without following the correct procedure. Although Judge O’Regan did look at (and rejected the merits of!) the new “evidence” – she emphasised that it was clear the Herbex did not have the evidence to hand before they started advertising the products. This is very important, and could form
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Quackery and mumbo-jumbo pseudo-science?

This is an invited article by a guest author who points out a discrepancy between the 'talk' and the 'walk' so often demonstrated by dedicated sellers of complementary medicines.

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