New Proposed Regulations for Natural Health Products
The New Zealand Society of Naturopaths
Media Release 17th June 2011
Natural health products are currently inadequately regulated
The NZ Society of Naturopaths (NZSN) welcomes the news that the Green Party and the Government will set up a new stand-alone New Zealand natural health regulator. We agree with the Ministry of Health that natural health products are currently inadequately regulated.
Concerns about proposed list for permitted ingredients
We have some concerns however, regarding the proposed list for permitted ingredients; such a list could limit the natural products that are permitted to be used, which would then affect the sort of natural products that are available in New Zealand.
We feel there should only be a list of prohibited ingredients. The NZ Society of Naturopaths has offered a representative to be involved in the decision-making process of prohibited ingredients.
Increased costs of the new regulation
We are concerned that the increased costs of the new regulation, two thirds of which will be borne by the industry, this will hinder the business growth of naturopaths in New Zealand. Then ultimately the costs will be passed on to the consumer. In this current economic climate we feel this may be hard for the industry and for the consumer of natural health products. Natural products already viewed by many as expensive compared to subsidised prescription medications.
We have some concerns regarding the therapeutic claims. The new natural health products proposal says that approval of products making high level claims will continue to be required under the medicines act. What is considered a high level claim? Well researched products e.g. fish oil used for arthritis, St Johns Wort used for depression; are depression or arthritis categories for higher level claims? We are concerned that such a claim may not be allowed.
The new proposal states "traditional claims..... will be allowed where appropriate" there are many traditional naturopaths remedies that are used to help in serious illness. According to one part of the new proposal such claims will be allowed, but there is some confusion as these could be interpreted as "high level claims".
New regulation would look at what is best for New Zealanders
We are pleased that this new regulation is specifically for New Zealand. Naturopaths in New Zealand may use products and natural medicines unique to New Zealand, or help people regain health using naturopathic medicines which are not allowed in some countries, we are glad that in New Zealand this new regulation would look at what is best for New Zealanders and make independent decisions.
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