Latest Regulatory Affairs Newsletter

A collection of regulatory news from this month.


Reminder: NICNAS Turns into AICIS on 1 July 2020 – Training Videos Available

Regular readers of this newsletter will be aware that the regulation of the chemical ingredients used in cosmetics, has been controlled by the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS), and that this is to change when the new regulatory framework for industrial chemicals will be called the Australian Industrial Chemicals Introduction Scheme (AICIS) commencing on 1 July 2020. Due to the absence of face to face training while the Coronavirus pandemic rages, NICNAS has provided several short videos covering different elements of the new scheme.  These video sessions are each 25 minutes long. Copies of the slides and presentations can be read and downloaded here: NICNAS to AICIS videos


Training: RFA Provides Comprehensive Training in Regulatory Affairs

Are you looking to expand your knowledge or are you new to Australian regulations related to the supply of foods, cosmetics and/or complementary medicines? Then check out the full list of courses we offer on the Robert Forbes & Associates website . There are 20 courses to choose from and any of these can be undertaken either singly or in groups, remotely via Skype. Contact our training manager Kate Durey This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  to receive the latest information on these training courses.

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) update:

In order to protect the integrity of our company so that we can continue to provide you with regulatory advice, our technical team members are now working remotely from our office, and we have cancelled all face to face meetings and training sessions at our office.

We are still operating during normal business hours, communicating via emails and conducting training courses via Skype ( ).  Throughout this community health crisis, we continue to offer regulatory support remotely - no need to visit our office! – via skype or phone call – as well as international advice with no need for physical contact.

Contacts: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Hand Sanitiser Update

Hand sanitisers in Australia are regulated as ‘cosmetics’, ‘therapeutic‘ or ‘excluded’ goods via the new Therapeutic Goods (Excluded Goods-Hand Sanitisers) Determination 2020 . This means these products are excluded from Therapeutic Goods Administration regulation for the duration of the COVID-19. These excluded hand sanitisers must contain only the following ingredients:

  • EITHER ethanol 80% v/v (pharmacopoeial grade or food standard grade) OR isopropyl alcohol 75% v/v (pharmacopoeial grade) in an aqueous solution;
  • sterile distilled water or boiled cold water;
  • glycerol 1.45% v/v (pharmacopoeial grade);
  • hydrogen peroxide 0.125% v/v (pharmacopoeial grade); and
  • cannot contain any other active or inactive ingredients, including colours, fragrances or emollients.

There are strict requirements for labelling of these products. Manufacturers must also test the alcohol concentrations of each batch, manufacture under sanitary conditions and maintain production record-keeping.

Do you need hand sanitiser advice? Confused if your product is a cosmetic, therapeutic or excluded good? Contact Robert Forbes: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Our team is working remotely, and our virtual office remains open.

Product Claims in a Time of Corona Virus

If you are looking to promote your health or hygiene products in relation to the treatment of COVID-19 please check out the following links: TGA requirements for hard surface disinfectants and alcohol based hand sanitisers (i.e. claims, any additional test data required, label updates, process for change etc.); TGA Advertising requirements as detailed in the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code, and,  Australian Consumer Law provisions relevant to product claims.   (Please see also: The risk of infection via surfaces and the new coronavirus )

Warning About Products Claiming to Treat or Prevent the Novel Coronavirus

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has identified certain therapeutic goods such as complementary medicines or disinfectants being inappropriately promoted for the prevention or treatment of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) infections in Australia. The advertising of therapeutic goods to consumers in Australia is subject to legislative requirements administered by the TGA. The promotion of therapeutic goods to consumers for the prevention or treatment of novel coronavirus is likely to contravene the legislative requirements for a range of reasons, including unsupported claims or making a restricted representation. The TGA reminds advertisers to be very careful when considering making therapeutic claims related to novel coronavirus.    Source: COVID-19 advertising  (Please see also: COVID-19: China, Vietnam, Australia and Singapore caution against fraudulent health claims )

Surrogate Viruses for Use in Disinfectant Efficacy Tests to Justify Claims Against COVID-19

Sponsors and manufacturers wishing to make label claims of efficacy against COVID-19 for products that are either hard surface disinfectants or disinfectants that are medical devices, the following surrogate viruses can be used: Human coronavirus 229E, and, Murine hepatitis virus. Consideration will also be given to use of other human or animal coronaviruses. Viruses that have been suggested include Bovine coronavirus and Feline coronavirus.    Source: Virus disinfectants

Australian and New Zealand Complementary Medicine Firms Seek Clarification on ‘Essential Services’ Status

The complementary medicine (dietary supplement) industry bodies in both Australia and New Zealand are seeking clarification that the sector is classed as an ‘essential service’, with both countries imposing movement restriction to curb the spread of COVID-19.    Source: (Copyright): Tingmin Koe, NutraIngredients-Asia 'Essential service' status




Guidance on the New Scheme, AICIS (Starts 1 July 2020)

The government body responsible for the regulation of cosmetics in Australia has been known as the National Industrial Chemicals Notification Scheme (NICNAS). This body will change to the Australian Industrial Chemicals Introduction Scheme (AICIS) on 1 July 2020. Due to the growing impact of COVID-19, NICNAS/AICIS has decided to replace the planned stakeholder information sessions with educational videos you can watch at your own pace. These educational videos will be published in the coming weeks.     Source: NICNAS / AICIS videos



TGA Suspends Overseas GMP Inspections and QMS Audits Until Further Notice

Consistent with the Australian Government's latest travel restrictions, the TGA has suspended all overseas GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) inspections and QMS (Quality Management System) audits until further notice. Currently there is no impact on domestic inspections and audits; however, the TGA is continuing to monitor the situation and will provide updates should there be any change to this position.    Source: GMP inspections suspended

Update on Proposed Clarification that Certain Sports Supplements are Therapeutic Goods

A public consultation was held in late 2019 on a proposal to clarify that certain sports supplements are therapeutic goods. After consideration of stakeholder submissions and feedback from two stakeholders, the proposal has been refined to clarify the intent of the reform and avoid unintentionally capturing food products (such as whey protein, sugar substitutes and meal replacement shakes).    Source: Sports supplements

Permissible Ingredients Determination - Update to Listed Medicine Ingredients in March 2020

Listed medicine ingredients and requirements for their use have been updated in the Therapeutic Goods (Permissible Ingredients) Determination (No. 1) 2020, which commenced on 2 March 2020. A total of 108 changes have been made in the updated Determination. A complete list of changed ingredients can be read here.    Source: Permissible ingredients

Important Dates for 2020

31 March - Final date to make fee-free changes to expression of content on ARTG for propolis and royal jelly.

30 April - Final transition date for ingredient name harmonisation. All medicines released for supply after this date must carry the updated ingredient names.

2 May - Final transition date - all medicines containing Andrographis Paniculata must have the new warning statement.

1 September - Final transition date for all labels released for supply to comply with TGO 92.

Important Dates for 2021

2 March - Final transition date for caffeine requirements including concentration limits, dosage limits, direction for use limits, and new warning statements.

2 March - Final date to change to permitted indications to avoid cancellation by the TGA as permissible indications transition ends.

6 March - Permissible Indications Determination - Labels must be aligned with changes to indications and new warnings made in February and November 2019.

31 March - TGO 101 - Final date for compliance with TGO 101 dealing with elemental impurities and, residual solvents

Court Proceedings Commenced Against Australian Sponsor for Alleged Advertising Breaches

Proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia (Court) have commenced against Evolution Supplements Australia Pty Ltd and Mr Cumhur Keskin, the sole director and secretary of the company, for alleged breaches of the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 (the Act). Evolution Supplements Australia and Mr Keskin are alleged to have advertised therapeutic goods not entered in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG). It is also alleged that Evolution Supplements Australia and Mr Keskin continued to advertise the goods in question during 2019 despite both a warning letter and a formal direction being issued to Mr Keskin by the TGA and that this advertising is alleged to have included references to Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (SARMs). SARMs are experimental medicines and no SARM has been fully researched or approved for human use. The use of SARMS has been linked to liver failure and increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Importing, supplying or possessing SARMs without a valid prescription, license or authority is illegal.    Source: Advertising breach  (Please see also SARM personal story covered in April 2019 edition of this newsletter: Tim’s Story )

Oxymed Australia Pty Ltd fined $63,000 for Alleged Advertising Breaches

The TGA has issued Oxymed Australia Pty Ltd five infringement notices, with penalties of $63,000 for alleged advertising breaches. The alleged contraventions relate to the advertising of hyperbaric oxygen therapy chambers, not included in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG). Unless a specific exemption applies, therapeutic goods must be entered in the ARTG before they can be lawfully supplied or advertised in Australia.    Source: Oxymed fined

India Limits Medicine Exports After Supplies Hit by Coronavirus

The coronavirus outbreak has led India to restrict the export of dozens of drugs including paracetamol, antibiotics such as tinidazole and erythromycin, the hormone progesterone, which is used in the contraceptive pill, and vitamins B12, B1 and B6. India is one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of drugs, with the US and Europe heavily reliant on the supply.    Source: India's medicine restrictions

Independent Review of the Reforms to the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Framework to Commence

The independent review of the advertising reforms (the Review) has now commenced, and is being led by Ms Rosemary Sinclair AM. The Review will assess the impact of the new advertising measures as included in the Therapeutic Goods Amendment (2017 Measures No.1) Act 2018. The Review may also advise on whether further changes to the management of the regulation of therapeutic goods advertising, including complaints, are required. However, the Review will not consider the Government's decision, implemented through legislative change in 2018, to remove pre-approval for advertisements of medicines that appear in specified media from 1 July 2020. Nor will it consider the legislation other than in the context of its operational impact on the new advertising measures.     Source: Independent legislative review

The Lactobacillus Taxonomy Change is Coming: Why, and How to Make the Most of it?

There are major international naming changes coming up for probiotics currently named under the Lactobacillus genus, expected to be announced during 2020. Developed with consensus by taxonomic experts, it aims to ensure a shared and stable language for identifying existing organisms and will be a historic event in the field of taxonomy leading to global impacts as well as hoped-for long-term benefits on the probiotics industry. Now and for the first time, the upcoming taxonomy change will have an unprecedented impact on probiotics – a category consumed by millions of people Worldwide and projected to reach almost 70 billion USD of market value by 2023. The two key aspects for the choice of the new classification will be to create new genera with a better homogeneity that respects the defined rules for similarity between organisms in a same genus, and most importantly, to create a stable number of genera that will accommodate future species without the need of a further reclassification.    Source: Renaming probiotics  (Please see also the International Scientific Association for Prebiotics and Probiotics )

Importer fined $10,000 for Importing Illegal Supplements

The owner of an online supplements business has been fined $10,000 and ordered to perform 400 hours of community service after he failed to realise products he imported from the United States contained ingredients that were illegal. Daniel Katsogiannis, 32, was charged in 2018 after the Border Force intercepted two shipments of workout supplements containing DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone) and DMAA (1,3-dimethylamylamine). The use of DMAA was banned in Australia by the Therapeutic Goods Administration in 2012, with the substance described as "toxic" with "dangerous side-effects". DHEA is available in supplements in the US but is classified as a steroid precursor in Australia. In an interview with authorities, Mr Katsogiannis said he didn't consider DHEA a steroid and had no idea it was illegal. DMAA was not listed as an ingredient on the product labels, so he thought he was "good to go", but the substance was found to be present in testing.          Source: Georgina Mitchell, SMH DHEA import bust

How to Spot a Counterfeit Medicine

There are two types of fake medicines: products that imitate genuine medicines, and products that make false claims about their ingredients. A counterfeit medicine could have no/substandard or undeclared active ingredients. The ingredients could be illegal or dangerous, the dosage could be incorrect or there may contain contaminants from unhygienic manufacture. In countries that have strong medicines regulation, such as Australia, fake medicines are rarer, especially when bought from reputable retailers. The quickest way to spot a bogus medicine is to compare it with an authentic medicine. Medicines are manufactured with precision, so any variation in size, weight, colour, quality or embossing could indicate a forgery. If you do buy your medicines online, make sure they are listed or registered on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG)     Source: Counterfeit meds


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