Everything You Need To Know About The Therapeutic Products Bill In New Zealand
If you are in the natural health industry (like us) or take natural health products (like us), this new Therapeutic Products Bill will be important to you. There is a lot of misinformation going on out there, and sadly as we are all pretty time poor, it can be easy to read something and take it as gospel without looking into it a bit further.
I (Skye) am on the board of Naturopaths and Medical Herbalists of NZ. We have attended meetings with the Ministry of Health and have looked into the proposed changes, and while there will be change - it is not all doom and gloom.
Here is a quick recap on the important stuff:
Natural health falls under the Dietary Supplement bill which is set to expire in the next few years and is not comprehensive enough for our industry.
There is no one coming for your cinnamon, coconut oil and cardamom. There is no prohibited list of 300 ingredients. There is a proposed list of thousands of ingredients that have been approved for use already - you can find that here.
There are some plants/ingredients that have been moved to pharmacist only (such as Artemisia – wormwood and Lobelia) but this is to do with safety and dosage.
When the bill goes through, we will be able to make health claims about certain ingredients that have been preapproved. This is a big step - currently, we can not say anything like that.
This has not been ‘sprung’ on us right before the holidays, so people have no time to make submissions. The advisers on this bill have been talking to stakeholders for years, like before 2017.
It will address standards that are weak in the areas of manufacturing. This is also for consumer safety.
More therapeutic products may become available
The Therapeutic Products Bill will also look at allowances or dosages for certain supplements, as some are incredibly low. This will mean a more therapeutic product might become available. This is good news and means that when people try natural health, they will hopefully try a product that will help them - opposed to one full of fillers or inactive materials. When people experience products like these, it can leave them feeling disillusioned with the industry and more likely to write off natural health.
There will be a self-registration process for products, which will cost natural health businesses. Once again, this will be for consumer safety. And yes, it will add costs to small businesses, but this is not a profit-making machine for the government it is more about funding the bill and its changes.
It is proposing a regulator for the industry. Ours is currently Medsafe. This one is important as this job will be massive. We hope that the regulator is from within the natural health industry as they will have in-depth knowledge of natural health.
Submissions are currently open
The bill is moving through its required stages. It is open for submissions until Sunday 5th March. If you are considering a submission, please make it fact-based and check what you have been told or read before you write it in. There is a lot of fear-mongering going on. If we can calmly supply some facts and our reasoning in our submissions, it will be better for the industry.
This bill is not out there to ruin all natural health companies in favour of big pharma; it is not there to stop us from using plants to support our health. The Therapeutic Products Bill in New Zealand aims to bring safer, registered products to market to ensure that you are getting the best natural health product you can.
We think it could be a positive move for the industry as it is a recognition that natural health products have an actual function in health and in society, which is a big win.
Any questions, let us know – Skye x.