Melatonin prescription ruling criticised by Australia's supplements trade body

By Gary Scattergood

- Last updated on GMT

CMA said it is concerned about the number of people buying products online from overseas. ©iStock
CMA said it is concerned about the number of people buying products online from overseas. ©iStock

Related tags Complementary medicines australia Medicine

Australia’s supplements trade body has criticised regulators for continuing to insist melatonin can only be obtained by prescription.

This follows a decision by the Advisory Committee on Medicines Scheduling that melatonin for human use will for now remain in Schedule 4 of the Poisons Standard.

Carl Gibson, CEO of Complementary Medicines Australia, said: “Melatonin, at appropriate doses, has been found to be safely and effectively used to alleviate the symptoms of jetlag, helps to reduce the time it takes to fall asleep, and helps re-set the body’s sleep-wake cycle."

He added Melatonin had been available for over 20 years in the US dietary supplement market, where it is used by approximately 5% of the population.

In Canada it was reclassified from prescription-only to natural health product status in 2003.

“There is a concern that there is a large and growing number of Australians purchasing melatonin via online channels under the personal importation scheme. Products purchased online from overseas are not subject to the same regulations as those enforced in Australia, which means there may be no surety that the product contains what it says it does,”​ he added.

“Because, for now, melatonin remains prescription-only in Australia we recommend that people seek the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.”

Related topics Regulation & Policy Supplements

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