24 February 2022
GOVERNMENT FAILURE TO FIX BROKEN DIETARY SUPPLEMENT RULES PUTS CONSUMERS AT RISK
New Zealand’s natural health products industry body says the Government’s failure to fix badly broken dietary supplement rules is putting consumers at risk.
Natural Health Products NZ’s Government Affairs Manager Samantha Gray says the organisation has long pushed for reform but to no avail. The body represents more than 80 per cent of this country’s dietary supplement and natural health product companies.
The Government’s ongoing failure to act has resulted in situations such as the recent Consumer NZ investigation that identified six imported sports supplements contained illegal drugs such as amphetamine-like stimulants as well as prescription drugs used to treat ADHD and Parkinson’s disease. None of Natural Health Products NZ’s members made or marketed those products.
“There have been other similar incidents over the years, yet the Government hasn’t done anything about it despite our industry trying to work constructively with them and offering support and expertise in this field.
“Regulatory reform is needed urgently. We are beyond exasperated by the Government’s lack of action, which borders on gross negligence, and wonder how bad things have to get before anything is done,” says Ms Gray.
Current rules mean dietary supplements may not be tested or proven safe before being sold in this country and the regulators seem unable to act. The same regulations also make it illegal for product labels to provide meaningful information about ingredients.
This has created an ironic situation that punishes reputable companies yet enables others to sell dangerous products here.
The same lack of action has created a double-whammy for reputable New Zealand-based natural health product exporters because the current rules forbid them from providing product labelling information that complies with their destination markets’ own regulations. This is costing local exporters many millions per year in lost orders.
Ms Gray says even though the Government agrees the rules are outdated it has not fixed them.
“It’s particularly galling because New Zealand came close to having improved regulations but that was ditched by the Labour-NZ First coalition following coalition negotiations in 2017.
“We are now nearly five years down the track and there has still been no progress despite our best efforts.
“I question why the Government hasn’t acted given the current situation is bad for consumers, bad for exporters and bad for the industry as a whole.”
For more information contact:
Government Affairs Director
Natural Health Products NZ
Mob: 021 1197226
Ph: 021 251 2628