Natural Health & Supplementary Products Bill
This Bill (324-2) has now slipped into its THIRD reading in parliament with very little media attention. We are not amused ... as many girls fighting the side effects of Gardasil rely on natural health and supplementary products! If you don't like what you see here, we strongly urge you to contact your local MP and voice your opposition to this Bill!
The bill seeks to regulate low-risk natural health products in New Zealand. Part 1 of the bill defines a natural health product according to how the product is consumed, its ingredients, and the type of claim of health benefit made. It also proposes the establishment of a regulatory authority within the Ministry of Health, which would recognise decisions made by other authorities, create an advisory committee to advise the authority, and maintain an online database of natural health products. Finally, part 1 requires the notifier of a natural health product to be resident in New Zealand.Part 2 sets out the regulatory scheme. It proposes that before products can be marketed, they would have to be notified on an online database. This process would require the applicant to declare that the product met the scheme’s requirements, and the product notifier to hold evidence supporting any claim of health benefit. It provides for the authority to audit, suspend, or cancel notifications; prohibit ingredients; issue export certificates and compliance notices; undertake safety assessments of ingredients; and prescribe fees. Part 2 would establish penalties, a code of manufacturing practice, and mechanisms for appeal and the recall of products. It would also require product notifiers to inform the authority about any serious adverse reactions to products, and any ingredients which were not previously notified.Natural health and supplementary products are widely consumed around the world. They are used and produced on a personal basis. They are also produced for mass use, in a global trade, by significantly sized businesses.While some of these products have clear scientific evidence of efficacy, others do not. This caused an obvious divide between many submitters on this bill. A large number of products rely on traditional evidence for their appeal and many consumers believe they are good for them. The committee had a difficult task to achieve a bill that balances the demand for consumer choice, protects public health safety, ensures regulations and compliance costs are light when there is low risk, and responds to the increasing need to have a sound scientific evidence base underpinning the use of natural health and complementary medicine.We consider that over time there is a strong case to increase through research the scientific evidence that underpins the use of natural and complementary medicines, as this will assist consumers, health practitioners, and policy makers alike. We also consider it important for the outcomes of this legislation to be carefully monitored so that any appropriate adjustments can be made over time.Our commentary covers the main amendments we recommend to the bill and some of the matters we discussed in our consideration of the bill. It does not cover minor or technical amendments."