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Pan recall impact lingers

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TWO months after the Pan Pharmaceutical recall, the complementary health care industry is still reeling from the shock of Australia’s biggest medical recall.

TWO months after the Pan Pharmaceutical recall, the complementary health care industry is still reeling from the shock of Australia’s biggest medical recall. At least one WA retailer has been forced to close and industry groups say hundreds of jobs have been affected across the country.Complementary Healthcare Council executive director Val Johanson said several retail outlets and small companies in the Eastern States had gone to the wall. Bigger companies had to contract and there had been hundreds of jobs lost. She said overall turnover was estimated to be down about 15 per cent to 20 per cent, which was not as bad as had been initially expected.Between 30 per cent and 40 per cent of products were still off the shelves.”We had reports of people coming in and buying up bottles of products that had been recalled but which they had used for many years and still had faith in,” she said. “The picture that is coming through is that there is still very strong support out there for natural health care products. But we are not out of the woods yet.”The council had no knowledge of any serious adverse effects from Pan products despite the company having made up 11.4 billion doses last year.Ms Johanson said there had been 71 cases reported to the Therapeutic Goods Administration but the TGA did not believe most could be linked to Pan.Val Allen, director of the Perth Natural Medical Clinic in Highgate, said the clinic treated 300 to 400 patients a week, some of whom had been with the clinic for 20 years.About 200 clients used diet and nutritional supplements. She said about 70 per cent of patients had continued to use products which were on the banned list. They had used them for years and believed they worked.”Most of them are scratching their heads wanting to know what all the fuss was about,” she said.She repeated concerns voiced at the time of the recall that the entire complementary health care industry was being targeted by the TGA because of the sins of one manufacturer.Marcus Blackmore, chairman of natural health care company Blackmores, which did not have any products manufactured by Pan, said the industry was devastated but people still strongly believed in the products.”Where is the evidence that these products were ever harmful?” he asked.”It’s like the weapons of mass destruction. The Government just went ahead with what they wanted to do anyway.”He said Blackmores’ own research showed 14 per cent of people in Australia went ahead and used recalled products despite Government warnings.A spokeswoman for the TGA would not comment on the number of cases of adverse effects but said they were being carefully assessed. At this stage there was no link to any of the Pan products. She said it was disturbing that companies were in the position of having to close, but the health and safety of Australians was paramount.”Even innocent third parties who have been affected would probably agree the recall had to happen,” she said. (Source: The West Australian, Reports by Anne Buggins, June 30, 2003)

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Dates

Posted On: 30 June, 2003
Modified On: 5 December, 2013


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