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health regulation

Making the case for registration of naturopaths

Should naturopaths be registered? It’s a controversial debate that’s hit the headlines again recently, following the near-death of a baby in Sydney. Dr Jon Wardle, from the Australian Research Centre in Complementary and Integrative Medicine at the University of Technology Sydney, who has been taking plenty of media calls on this question, argues below that […]

A call for clarity in policy around drugs known as "biosimilars"

The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee and the Therapeutic Goods Administration have been urged to clarify their policies around “biosimilars” – drugs which act in the same way as patented biological drugs, although they may not be exactly the same. Dr Ruth Lopert, who was the TGA’s Principal Medical Adviser from 2008-2011 and Director of the […]

Prof Andrew Wilson announced as new Chair for Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC)

(Note from Melissa Sweet on 24 May: See bottom of post for a comment by Professor Andrew Wilson on his appointment). Health Minister Sussan Ley today announced the appointment of Professor Andrew Wilson as the new Chair of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC), the independent expert body whose primary role is to recommend new […]

'The Coal Face': fateful decisions & more questions on the ongoing public health crisis of the Hazelwood coal mine fire

(from Prologue) On the afternoon of Sunday 9 February 2014, the open-cut coalmine next to Hazelwood Power Station caught fire. It burned out of control for forty-five days – over 1000 hours. The town of Morwell, home to 14,000 people, is less than half a kilometre from Hazelwood mine. In the Latrobe Valley, over 70,000 […]

Vending machines – exercising your choice?

Many thanks to Dr Melissa Stoneham and the Public Health Advocacy Institute of Western Australia for this latest instalment of Journal Watch. *** Melissa Stoneham writes: Vending machines – they are certainly versatile. You can get almost anything in them today. In Perth and Adelaide right now, 4 hot chip vending machines are being trialled. In […]

BMJ publishes 'clusterbomb' of evidence on benefits of tobacco plain packaging, but fight with companies 'far from over'

The British Medical Journal today published the findings of a series of studies in a special Tobacco Control supplement showing that Australia’s plain packaging laws are delivering on their promise. Cancer Council Victoria’s Professor Melanie Wakefield, whose team led the evaluation, said research shows plain packaging reduced positive perceptions of cigarette packs among teenagers and […]

Health policy reform: principles for reform & how to get there

 In Part 1 of this series I described the areas in our health sector that need reform. In Part 2 I spoke of the obstacles, particularly those imposed by vested interests in the health sector to protect their own interests by delaying or stopping reform. In this article, I will be suggesting ways in which […]