Concerning the safety, efficacy, and quality of the product, Australian regulators review and register nutraceuticals, same as pharmaceutical products, concerning the safety, efficacy, and quality of the product.

Regulatory approval process for Nutraceuticals/Complementary medicines in Australia

To register herbal, animal, cosmetics, vitamins, or mineral products in Australia, one needs to take the route of the Complementary registration process.

Read the first part of this series – Regulatory Approval for Complementary Medicines in Australia Part-I – to understand complementary medicines and their classification in Australia.

If you are interested in filing an application for your complementary medicine in Australia, let’s understand how TGA ensures the safety, quality, and efficacy of complementary medicine.

TGA regulatory approval process for Nutraceuticals (complementary medicine)

Before making a product application to TGA, the applicant needs to consider these six parts,

  1. Active ingredient
  2. Therapeutic claim
  3. Quality of the finished product
  4. Safety data
  5. Label and Advertisement of the product
  6. Australian based Sponsor

Let’s understand them one by one.

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1. Active ingredient

The sponsor needs to check the list, whether their active ingredients (active and non-active) are on the TGA website for the permissible active ingredient list.

The 26BB Legislative Instrument provides a list (26BB list) of all ingredients available for use in listed medicines.

If the active ingredient is registered on the 26BB list, it is fairly easy for the manufacturer to proceed with the listing or registration of such products, provided he complies with other TGA requirements for registration of such products.

If the active ingredient is not available on this list, it is treated as New Substance by TGA, and the applicant has to start the process from registration of the active ingredient. A comprehensive dossier needs to be prepared and submitted to TGA for active ingredients evaluation.

Classification of ingredient evaluation

There are four different categories for the evaluation of active ingredients by TGA.

IN1Evaluation of safety and quality based on evaluation reports from a COB.
IN2Evaluation of safety based on evaluation reports from a COB.
Independent evaluation of quality by the TGA.
IN3Evaluation of quality based on evaluation reports from a COB; or a monograph contained in a default standard.
Independent evaluation of safety by the TGA.
IN4Full independent evaluation of safety and quality by the TGA.

Legend: (COR = comparable overseas regulator)

Based on the safety and quality data available along with regulatory filing status in other regions, sponsors can decide upon the category under which they would like to apply to TGA.

2. Therapeutic claim

  • TGA Website provides a list of the permissible indications for use for listed complementary medicines.
  • It is a legal requirement that the product sponsor holds acceptable evidence to support the product’s therapeutic claim.
  • Sponsors can utilize traditional use or scientific evidence.
  • The sponsor has to prepare a bibliography/summary table of the evidence and references that support your product’s indications for use while applying to TGA.
  • If your product is chosen by TGA for full evaluation (TGA does not fully evaluate all products, but select some), for the post-marketing product assessment, the sponsor has to provide a bibliography/summary table of the evidence you have used to support the therapeutic claim/ indications.

3. Quality of the finished product

When it comes to managing the quality of the finished product, the sponsor needs to consider two main points.

  1. How is it manufactured (GMP aspect)?
  2. What are quality control measures in place?

TGA does not specify any GMP requirements for active ingredients. It’s only for finished products.

GMP aspect

  • The Australian Code of GMP is entirely based on the international standard Guide to Good Manufacturing Practices for Medicinal Products, published by the Pharmaceutical Inspection Cooperation Scheme (PIC/S).
  • Each Australian manufacturer of medicinal products for human use holds a manufacturing license.
  • Manufacturers can find information on the TGA website for Australian manufacturing licenses and overseas GMP certification.
  • All complementary medicine manufacturers need to manufacture in a GMP-compliant facility.
  • Australia has a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) with some countries. However, if your products are not manufactured in one of these countries, then the TGA may need to visit the factory and perform an inspection for GMP compliance unless they have been inspected by a regulator recognized by the TGA, in which case an off-site documentation audit would be undertaken.

Quality control measures

The Act defines the quality standards applicable to all therapeutic goods.

  • To ensure the quality of the product, the sponsor must ensure that they adhere to default standards recognized in the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989, that is, the British Pharmacopoeia, United States Pharmacopoeia – National Formulary, and the European Pharmacopoeia.
  • If the ingredient is subject to a default standard, you have to comply with the applicable standard.
  • The TGA considers the suitability of other national or international pharmacopoeial monographs or standards for a substance on a case-by-case basis.
  • In many instances, there are no applicable monographs. In such cases, the sponsor shall develop compositional guidelines.
  • A compositional guideline is a summary of descriptions, tests, and limits that defines the composition and relevant characteristics of the substance, where the pharmacopoeial monograph or standard sufficiently characterizes the substance, is not available.

4. Safety Data

Complementary medicine in Australia is classified based on the risk associated with the ingredient.

The sponsor must provide sufficient information on

  • Literature search data,
  • Toxicological data,
  • Biological activity data,
  • Clinical trial data and
  • Adverse reaction

to prove the safety and efficacy of the product

If the product is derived from an animal source or human source, the sponsor may have to support the dossier with additional safety data.

Do you know that QUALITY & SAFETY are the two most important considerations for TGA? Ascertain that your filing matches the criteria.

The way forward to effective dossier preparation

Sponsors must make a comprehensive dossier for their product and submit it to TGA.

With all supportive evidence, particularly those related to quality and safety, your dossier stands strong for a thorough evaluation by TGA.


There are two other important aspects of the dossier – Label & advertisement sponsor – that need to be considered to make the dossier complete in all aspects.

It’s a long wait for approval after dossier submission to TGA based on the category you have chosen for your product. The last thing you want from TGA after this waiting period is a query (or, queries), which can cost you costly delays in the product launch.

So be cautious.

We will be covering the remaining important aspects and salient features for a flawless submission process, along with post-marketing review and adverse event reporting aspects in the last and concluding part of this series.

Stay tuned for part III in this series.

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