(First published in the first issue of The New Zealand Journal of Natural Medicine (August – November 2011)

 

Since our first issue there have been some significant developments that impact on our health freedom – both in New Zealand and internationally.

In NZ, the government has now officially responded to the Report of the Health Select Committee following its Inquiry into how to improve [increase] immunisation [vaccination] completion rates.  Unfortunately, while the government response includes some positive statements such as “The Ministry of Health notes that while targets are important to reduce vaccine preventable diseases, immunisation is a choice in New Zealand.  Efforts to achieve on-target immunisation must respect the individual’s, parent’s, and guardian’s rights to make an informed choice and decision.”Nevertheless, it is still considering some of the coercive recommendations in the Report of the Health Select Committee, including one requiring parents to produce vaccination information (either a certificate showing that a child is fully vaccinated, or a “declination form” – stating that parents have decided against vaccination.

The government is also considering whether to accept a recommendation from Dr Nikki Turner of of Immunisation Advisory Centre to make eligibility for 20 Hours Free Early Childhood Education dependent on parents supplying the same documentation.

The government is also considering a proposal for all parents (or guardians) receiving any “welfare payment”  be “required to ensure their children complete the 12 Well Child Tamariki Ora health checks, which include completion of the immunisation schedule, unless they make an informed choice not to.  The Ministry of Health is working with the Ministry of Social Development and other agencies to provide advice that will inform the Government’s response.”

If you think that parents have the right to make the decisions about which vaccines their children receive – if they decide to vaccinate their children – and that the government has no business trying to bully parents into making a “choice” between their child having all  recommended vaccinations or none at all, please support the campaign against this sort of medical tyranny. For more information on this issue please visit www.noforcedvaccines.org and sign up to be a member for updates.

Another threat to health freedom on the NZ horizon is a proposed Food Bill.  The July-August issue of Organic NZ the directors of the Koanga Institute Bob Corker and Kay Baxter have obtained “confirmation by lawyers that the Food Bill will criminalise people who exchange seeds, plant material or home-raised produce – even by giving them away – if they cannot afford or are otherwise not granted a license to do so.” According to the article:  “MAF says the Bill covers only food for sale for human consumption, and not seed, (unless it were for human consumption); and that the definition of ‘sale’ includes bartering but not giving away.”

The text of the bill may be read here:

http://www.legislation.govt.nz/bill/government/2010/0160/latest/DLM2995811.html

Medsafe has also announced that it plans to re-classify red yeast rice capsules as a pharmaceutical.  Many people use this product which is made by culturing the fungus Monascus purpureus on rice grains.  Red yeast rice is an ingredient classic dishes such as Peking Duck and has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine since the Tang Dynasty (800AD).  Red yeast rice is a popular supplement in NZ and is taken by people who want to lower elevated cholesterol levels.

Documents obtained under the Official information Act show that the decision to re-classify this nutritional supplement as a pharmaceutical has nothing to do with health or safety issues.  In fact, red yeast rice will continue to be available in NZ in powder form – it is only the products that are encapsulated that will undergo a “technical adjustment” and be reclassified as prescription drugs.  The documents state that the reason for the technical adjustment is because of a request from Australia’s TGA for NZ to “harmonise” its policy regarding red yeast rice with Australia’s.

In fact, “harmonisation” between NZ and Australia has come a lot closer since John Key announced that the New Zealand and Australian government officials have agreed “to immediately beginning work on implementing the Australia-New Zealand Therapeutic Products Agency” to regulate pharmaceutical drugs and medical devices.

http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/transtasman-medical-regulation-agency-way-key-ck-95632

According to the National Business Review it will take five years to set up the agency.  It also stated that “The New Zealand Government’s review of the proposed separate scheme for natural health products in five years’ time would consider whether or not to maintain a separate scheme for natural health products.  Mr Key said both countries had agreed the creation of the joint agency was not dependent on natural health products being part of the joint regulatory arrangements, but that they did not want to exclude the option for the future.”

Given the history of Australia’s TGA, if New Zealand’s natural products do end up being regulated by a joint trans-Tasman agency, it  is unlikely to be a good thing for NZ public or consumers.  Medsafe is clearly far from perfect;  however, at least as a business unit of the NZ Ministry of Health it is under NZ government control and therefore subject to political pressure and oversight.  Information about its operations can also be obtained through Official Information Act requests, when necessary. The NZ public would have no influence over an Australian-based corporate entity.

Moreover, if New Zealand’s natural products do end up being regulated by an Australian-based Australia-New Zealand Therapeutic Agency, this could be disastrous for New Zealand as the TGA has caused significant harm to the Australian natural products industry (such as through the unnecessary recall of thousands of natural health products manufactured by Pan Pharmaceuticals in 2003) and has restricted access to many herbal and nutritional products.

Meanwhile in the USA, the FDA is quietly introducing a new regulatory system that could make many natural health products illegal.  The Health Ranger, Mike Adams explains:

“In 1994, after years of armed raids, oppression and censorship by the FDA, Congress passed a law known as DSHEA. This is the law that essentially forced the FDA to stop regulating dietary supplements out of existence, and groups such as the Life Extension Foundation (www.LEF.org) were instrumental in helping get this law passed in 1994.

“But one of the little-known sections of the law required dietary supplement manufacturers to “notify” the FDA any time they used a new ingredient in their formulations. However, the details on how supplement companies were supposed to abide by these notification guidelines (called “NDI” or New Dietary Ingredient rules) were never published by the FDA, and since 1994, this entire section of DSHEA has remained essentially unenforced (or selectively enforced).

“Now, suddenly, the FDA has decided it wants to enforce NDI, and its enforcement of this technicality would essentially amount to the FDA denying permission to use nearly all dietary supplement ingredients introduced since 1994. So last Friday, the FDA proposed its new rules on NDI – on the Friday before a long weekend, no less, which is a common tactic government uses when it wants to do something that nobody notices – and these new rules run the risk of being adopted as active regulations, threatening virtually the entire dietary supplement industry with an eventual shutdown.”

You can read the Mike Adams’ report here: http://www.naturalnews.com/032912_FDA_dietary_supplements.html#ixzz1SL0SgEQF
and there is more information at this link: http://www.anh-usa.org/fda-new-sneak-attack-on-supplements/

If the FDA gets away with this new anti-health terrorism, it will have worldwide effects since the USA is a major manufacturer and exporter of quality natural health supplements, and any restriction on what can be produced in the USA will likely have negative effects on the availability (and price) of nutritional supplements and herbal remedies.  The timing of the US FDA move, a couple of months after the EU’s Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive (THMPD) made most herbs in the UK (and indeed the EU) illegal, is particularly concerning,  Under the directive, herbs become illegal unless manufacturers are able to license each herb at an estimated cost of 80,000 – 12,000 pounds each.  The late last year the Independent announced that most herbs would become illegal in Britain (and indeed the EU) from May 1, 2011.  The the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH), which represents herbal practitioners, told the independent that  not a single product used in traditional Chinese medicine or Ayurvedic medicine has been licensed.

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/europe-to-ban-hundreds-of-herbal-remedies-2171781.html  

The website of the Alliance for Natural Health states that it is preparing to challenge the Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive in court.

http://www.anh-usa.org/dark-times-for-herbal-medicine-in-europe/

We will keep you updated with developments.

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