18 Apr 2019

Australian-made claims remain under the spotlight

By Dean Gerakiteys

The Australian Government has announced that it intends to deal with the "unintended" consequences of recent country of origin labelling reforms for complementary medicines.

The use of country of origin claims on complementary medicines remains under the spotlight, following last year's release of the ACCC's non-binding "Country of origin labelling for complementary healthcare products – a guide for business" and the decision in Nature's Care Manufacturer Pty Limited v Australian Made Campaign Limited [2018] FCA 1936.  

Soon after the decision in that case, which was the first and only case to consider the ACCC's guide, the Australian Government announced the formation of the Complementary Healthcare Sector Country of Origin Labelling Taskforce, which was tasked with examining industry concerns about the impact of the country of origin labelling reforms on sponsors of complementary medicines.

The taskforce has now completed its review of the submissions made during the consultation period and on 5 April 2019, Minister for Industry, Science and the Hon Karen Andrews MP, announced that "complementary medicines manufactured in Australia in production facilities regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration would be able to make the claim ‘Australian made’ and use the Australian Made logo.”

However, it is not clear what this announcement will mean for sponsors and manufacturers.

Given the nature of the taskforce review and the reporting surrounding the outcome of the review, it appears that it is intended to relax the current strict guidance governing the use of "Australian made" on complementary medicines. However, how these reforms will be effected will need to be clarified, if they are in fact adopted.

In the meantime the ACCC's guidance (which was most recently published on 22 March 2019 in a substantively similar form to the 2018 version) remains current. Sponsors should therefore remain vigilant about the use (if any) which can be made of a country of origin claim on their products.

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Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this communication. Persons listed may not be admitted in all States and Territories.