L vs R – How One Little Letter Can Save Your Life

I foolishly thought this was common knowledge in my country. But after speaking to several people who had absolutely no idea about this, I decided to make a short blog post about to get this information out there. It relates to medicine and “medicine.” Essentially, every product claiming to have some kind of medical benefits in Australia is tagged with an identification number, starting with either AUST-R or AUST-L. One little letter, but one huge difference. 

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is a Government Agency that is responsible for regulating all drugs in Australia. It is the TGA that assigns these identification numbers. AUST-R products have been rigorously assessed for safety, quality and effectiveness. Passing such tests earns them registration on the TGA, hence the R. AUST-L products, on the other hand, are only permitted to contain what are known as “pre-approved, low-risk ingredients.” They are assessed for safety and quality, but not effectiveness. As a result, they merely earn a listing on the TGA, and thus the L. 

So essentially AUST-L items have not passed any tests for effectiveness and it has never been proven that they even work. It should therefore some as no surprise to learn that most herbs, vitamins and homeopathic remedies only achieve an AUST-L identification number. So next time you are in the pharmacy looking for a remedy for what ails you, remember that only AUST-R items have actually been proven to be effective. 

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