Health Select Committee Agrees To New Inquiry
Press Release by New Zealand Labour at 11 Sep 2002 16:41
An inquiry into the establishment of a Trans Tasman agency to regulate therapeutic products has been agreed to today by the Government's Health Select Committee.
Select Committee Chairwoman Steve Chadwick said widespread interest and concerns about the regulation of complimentary or therapeutic products and medicines had sparked the committee's interest and after some discussion the group agreed that an inquiry could prove valuable at this early stage.
"There has been a lot of talk about the use and regulation of such things as vitamins, supplements and other health products that the committee felt an inquiry was necessary.
"I agree, as does the Minister of Health, given the raft of therapeutic goods available to the public these days."
Mrs Chadwick said terms of reference for the inquiry were yet to be finalised and agreed on but she expected this would happen within the next two weeks.
Dietary Supplement Inquiry A Victory For Consumers
Press Release by Green Party at 11 Sep 2002 16:22
Green Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley said the decision by that the Health Select Committee today to hold an inquiry into proposals to regulate dietary supplements with a Trans-Tasman body was a victory for consumers and for common sense.
"There has been huge resistance from consumers and from providers to handing over our control of this important and growing industry to a heavily regulated, predominantly Australian body," said Ms Kedgley.
"More than 30,000 New Zealanders signed my petition calling on the government to abandon its plans to regulate dietary supplements through an Australian-dominated Trans-Tasman agency.
"The Select committee inquiry offers us the chance to explore whether there is a problem with the regulations governing dietary supplements that needs to be fixed, and if there is, how we can fix any problems through a simple, cost effective, New Zealand regulatory regime."
Ms Kedgley said although the terms of reference for the inquiry had yet to be set it was crucial that all parties with an interest in the issue made submissions to the committee.
"The fact that there will be an inquiry into this issue is recognition at the high level of public concern about the proposed changes. An inquiry is just what is needed to give this issue a thorough and public airing."
Scott Gets Go-Ahead For Inquiry
Press Release by New Zealand National Party at 11 Sep 2002 16:52
A call by National Health spokesperson, Dr Lynda Scott, for a select committee inquiry into a proposed trans-Tasman agency to regulate therapeutic products has got the green light.
"This is the first defeat for the Labour Government since the election. Annette King did not want this inquiry," says Dr Scott.
The Ministry of Health has been working with its Australian counterpart on a plan to set up a joint agency to regulate the manufacture and distribution of healthcare products, and charge for its services - a move strongly opposed by the supplements industry.
"I wanted the inquiry because I don't believe there's any justification for the enormous compliance costs this plan would impose on our dietary supplements industry," says Dr Scott.
"While some sort of regulation is overdue, the costs around this proposal could send many of New Zealand's supplements importers, suppliers and manufacturers to the wall.
"There's simply not enough detail in the agency plan, yet the Government is hell-bent on pushing it through. The Health Ministry admits it doesn't have enough knowledge about the supplements industry.
Dr Scott has asked the select committee to carry out an independent risk analysis on the use of dietary supplements and alternative medicines, to examine the compliance costs issue and to look at the regulatory regimes in other countries.
"Australia has one of the harshest regulatory environments around this issue, and we must look further afield before making decisions," she says.
Health Inquiry Is Good News For Consumers
Press Release by ACT New Zealand at 11 Sep 2002 17:47
The decision by the Health Select Committee to hold an inquiry into Labour's proposed Trans-Tasman Agency to regulate therapeutic products is a step in the right direction, ACT Health Spokesman Heather Roy said today.
"New Zealand consumers will get a rough deal under the Government's proposal, and I am delighted the select committee has chosen to conduct its own inquiry.
"ACT has opposed the creation of a Trans-Tasman Agency since it was first proposed by the National Government. It is excellent to see National has changed its position to support common-sense and individual choice.
"We have a very healthy, vibrant and growing dietary supplements industry in this country with a lot of further growth potential. The Government favours Australian legislation to regulate every single herb, vitamin, mineral and nutritional ingredient before it can be sold.
"When the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act was introduced in 1995, 850 submitters clearly showed the public wanted easy access to supplements, didn't want them to be classified as drugs and did not want to pay higher prices because of regulation.
"The select committee's inquiry is an excellent step in the right direction," Mrs Roy said.
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