Australian supplements exports to China double in two years

By Gary Scattergood

- Last updated on GMT

Australian supplements sales to China remain strong. ©iStock
Australian supplements sales to China remain strong. ©iStock

Related tags Complementary medicines australia Medicine

More than half of all Australia’s supplements exports are now going to China or to Hong Kong, with the overall value of industry exports doubling in the past two years.

Speaking at HI China in Shanghai, president of Complementary Medicines Australia (CMA), Dusko Pejnovic unveiled the trade association’s industry audit results.

It calculates the sector recorded revenues of $4.7bn. He said vitamins and supplements accounted for $2.7bn of this, followed by a rapidly-growing sports nutrition segment which now stands at $1bn. Herbal and traditional products contributed 0.6bn, with 0.4bn coming from weight loss items. The latter has been effected by more stringent regulations from regulator the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), he said.

“Within this setting, the value of exports has doubled in the last two ​years,” he said. “Fifty-five percent of exports are now going to China or to Hong Kong, from where they are usually shipped on to China.

“There is no doubt Australia has become a portal for a number of Chinese and US companies who want us to supply products to their markets.”

But he suggested it might not always be one-way traffic, noting: “You guys are interested in Western products, and we are looking at TCM much more, so it might go both ways.”

Claims change

Pejnovic also voiced his backing for a propose ‘third way’ health claim for supplements, to operate alongside the low-threshold AUST L and far more stringent AUST R classifications.

“We have lower and higher level claims at present, but there is a middle ground in between. CMA is now working with government on behalf of industry to define this.”

The changes are covered in the country’s Medicines and Medical Devices Regulation (MMDR) reforms.

According to CMA, they  “will encourage and reward greater investment in research and development by industry, and be an incentive to further expand the clinical research base on complementary medicine products.”

Pejnovic, who is the CEO of Lipa Pharmaceuticals told delegates in Shanghai that there was already 295 ongoing research projects across brands and manufacturing facilities, utilising $31.3m of funding.

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