MEDIA RELEASE: Industry Body ‘Surprised & Disappointed’ at Proposed Legislation

31 March 2021

The industry body representing more than 80 per cent of this country’s dietary supplement and natural health product companies says it is surprised and disappointed that the Ministry of Health’s recent update on Therapeutic and Natural Health Products Regulations  has overlooked critical elements that are currently holding back exporters and also companies who sell locally. 

Natural Health Products NZ’s Government Affairs Manager Samantha Gray says: “Over the past year we have been engaging with Ministers and officials over the need for fit for purpose, world class and best practice regulations for our industry. Yet the proposed Therapeutic Products Bill excludes the very thing we’ve most been asking for – to permit evidence-based therapeutic claims for natural health products.

Furthermore, the Ministry refuses to provide clarification over what claims or types of product claims will be included/excluded in the regulations. 

We believe this impasse can be resolved because the proposed legislation provides the Government with the opportunity to update the outdated 1981 Medicine Act’s definition of therapeutic purpose so it can be enabled in the Therapeutic Products Bill.”

Natural Health Products NZ is calling on the Ministry to amend the Bill to permit all therapeutic and health claims that Canada and Australia do, thus automatically making it clear which claims will be included / excluded. 

“There has been a high degree of integrity in the way those countries’ natural health product permitted claims have been assessed,” says Ms Gray.  “Aligning this country’s permitted claims with Australia’s and Canada’s will quickly resolve our sector’s export market roadblocks by enabling New Zealand to compete effectively in the global market – something that is not currently possible.”

Furthermore, the legislation needs to include a vehicle for enabling future new claims that are supported by appropriate scientific or traditional use evidence.

Ms Gray notes the current Bill also needs to be amended to enable claims that acknowledge requirements unique to this country, such as products made with native flora as part of Rongoā Māori. 

It also needs to be amended to permit claims that enable New Zealand to meet its population wellness obligations as part of the WHO Traditional Medicine Strategy 2014–2023 for herbal and complementary medicine.

“Natural Health Products NZ cannot support this legislation unless the key changes are addressed,” says Ms Gray.

Making such changes will benefit consumers and the industry alike by ensuring:

  • products that contain safe ingredients at a safe dose
  • high quality manufacturing processes put in place to provide assurance that products are not contaminated
  • product information that is clear on the use and recommended dose
  • therapeutic health claims that are based on appropriate evidence
  • New Zealand producers are in a positive position in the global marketplace

Click here to read the NZ Herald article

Click here to read the RNZ article