Natural Health Products Bill
by Katherine Smith
UPDATE Nov 9, 2012: The Health Select Committee has now produced its report on the Natural Health Products Bill. The Report may be downloaded from this link: http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/SC/Documents/Reports/0/9/f/50DBSCH_SCR5643_1-Natural-Health-Products-Bill-324-2.htm
I will be reading the bill and will post an update on this section of this site as soon as I have analysed the bill.
(NB: I have retained the information below for historical interest and to give a background to the issue for those who are new to this topic. Submissions on the bill are closed.)
Posted on February 11, 2012
The NZ government has called for public submissions on the Natural Health Products Bill. Submissions are due by February 24, 2012.)
A thoughtful discussion of the bill by Sandra Clair (which would be helpful for anyone making planning to make a submission) may be read in the November-December 2011 issue of Organic NZ magazine which is now available to be read at this link http://www.organicnz.org/organic-nz-magazine/1278/the-natural-health-products-bill-is-here-have-your-say/
This bill has been the result of an agreement between the National Party and the Green party. The bill may be downloaded from the following link: http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/Legislation/Bills/b/c/8/00DBHOH_BILL11034_1-Natural-Health-Products-Bill.htm
The regulatory impact statement for the bill may be read at this link:
This is an important bill for people and businesses that produce or import natural health products, for health professionals who use natural medicines – and for members of the public who use natural remedies to maintain their health or treat illness. As the bill is currently drafted, if it it is passed, in most cases it will be necessary to apply for a license to manufacture most health products (such as dietary supplements, herbal medicines etc) for the NZ market. (The exception to this appears to be practitioners who are making up a remedy for a particular patient, and companies that are exporting products that are not sold on the NZ market.
If the bill becomes law it will (in most cases) become illegal to to manufacture a natural health product in New Zealand without having obtained a license. It will also be illegal to sell a product (within NZ) that has not been registered with the NZ regulator that the bill establishes to regulate natural health products. As the bill is currently written there are substantial penalties for failing to comply with some of its provisions (and the regulations which will be established after the bill has been passed into law.) Penalties may include large fines for individuals and/or companies. If an offence is one that is deemed “likely to endanger the health of the public or the health of any individual” or to potentially “directly or indirectly” pose “a “a risk to human health” or “increase the likelihood of an existing risk to human health” the bill allows for imprisonment.
The regulatory impact statement produced by the NZ Ministry of Health makes it clear that the government view is that most of the costs of establishing the new natural health products regulator should be borne by the natural health industry. This could have a substantially detrimental effect on the many small and medium sized businesses that manufacture and/or import natural health products. The regulatory impact statement suggests that a product levy ranging from about $180 – $550 per product could be used to fund the regulator. Levying fees on a per product basis in this way are obviously more of a burden on smaller companies that have a large product range from which they sell small volumes of each product than they are on bigger businesses that sell large volumes of a smaller range of products. Levying costs on a per product basis could therefore mean that the public could lose access to some specialty products that are not big sellers – but nonetheless very important to the people who use them.
It is very important that as many people as possible make a submission on this bill to give the government the message loud and clear that this bill needs to be improved so that it helps facilitate New Zealanders access to a wide range of natural health products while also being fair to the natural health industry so that people do not lose their jobs or businesses due to the regulation of this industry.
The NZ Health Trust helped to develop a model Natural and Traditional Health Products Bill with input from consumers and natural health industry groups. You can download it from this link http://www.nzhealthtrust.co.nz/proposed_bill.html.
The NZ Health Freedom Trust is asking that everyone who makes a submission on this issue ask the government to include the recommendations in this model bill in the primary legislation.
If you would like to make a submission but do not know where to start, please email me through the Contact page of this website with the subject headline “NZHPB” and I will email you more information about this issue to help you – including a template letter that you can email to the government. Thank you.
I would also recommend that you visit the website of The NZ Health Freedom Trust at www.healthfreedom.co.nz and sign up for email updates.
The closing date for submissions is February 24, 2012, so please make time to do this soon.