Industry trade body Complementary Medicines Australia (CMA) welcomed what it called "a strong commitment" to the Australian health system, but said there was not enough focus on long term illness prevention.
CMA CEO Carl Gibson said: “CMA welcomes the increased funding for the Health portfolio, including the first disbursement of $65.9 million from the Medical Research Future Fund, which incorporates $10 million to boost preventive health research, yet this Budget fails to strengthen the Australian health system for the long term via greater investment in prevention.
“Current health policy in Australia is still focused on the treatment of people after they become unwell. Australia needs to have a new approach to healthcare, one which promotes self-reliance and shifts the emphasis of the health system towards greater support of wellness and prevention of disease.”
Australian society is being increasingly challenged by conditions such as coronary heart disease, diabetes and stroke – diseases that are largely preventable, argued Gibson
He added: "At a time when our population is ageing, health costs are increasing and the tax base is shrinking, we need to work towards a health model where individuals are supported to accept greater responsibility for their health. The responsible use of complementary medicines, underpinned by appropriate regulations, is a vital element of that self-reliance.
"The complementary medicines industry holds enormous potential to contribute to a sustainable health care system, one that focuses on prevention of chronic disease.
“The use and further development of complementary medicines provides an opportunity to counteract spiralling health care costs through more effective disease prevention and preventable chronic disease management, and potentially less reliance on the hospital system and the PBS."