The public only has until 15 February to make submissions. More than 50% of the NZ public uses Natural Products. The structure of the Bill is very concerning. It establishes a regulator who will be empowered to take decisions and control availability, it does not adequately specify what factors should influence his decisions. In other words, it is an enabling bill of the type favoured by repressive regimes.
We don’t see any evidence that the public is being disadvantaged under current regulations, Dr. Guy Hatchard said, nor is there any evidence they are being harmed by Natural Products. This is an area where the government has no need to tighten regulations.
The Bill will place additional financial burdens on manufacturers and end users and it will introduce uncertainty about products that have been sold and relied upon by millions of New Zealanders. In our opinion, it is an underhand move to structure the Bill as regulation without specifying content. This is designed to disperse and deflect public interest, especially as the public consultation period spans the summer break.
It is of note that the very long list of common herbals planned to be banned under the 2016 bill drawn up by Medsafe with the help of the International Coalition of Medicines Regulatory Authorities (“ICMRA”) is still in existence. Some of these are even used regularly and traditionally in cooking. Under the Bill, there is nothing to stop the new regulator from simply adopting this list as soon as appointed. This list would disrupt the availability of traditional remedies.
ICMRA was born out of the 65th World Health Assembly conference in 2012 under the excuse of a need “to address current and emerging human medicine regulatory and safety challenges globally, strategically and in an ongoing, transparent, authoritative and institutional manner.” Its members include medicine and drug regulatory bodies from 22 countries and the European Union. Additionally, another 15 countries are counted as associate members. The World Health Organisation is noted as an “observer.” And so, this is not only a problem New Zealanders face. What is happening in New Zealand in respect of prohibiting and controlling Natural Products will be rolled out to the detriment of populations in a large portion of the world.
Natural Products Regulation – An Overreach of Government Control
By Guy Hatchard
Civilisations come and go through the ages. When governments empower people, they harness the intelligence and creativity of their citizens for the good of all, when they seek to control their populations, they fall into decline.
Following three years of pandemic control, governments are not stopping there. Here in New Zealand, the government has introduced the ‘Therapeutic Products Bill’ which will control how products which appear to benefit health are manufactured, prescribed, imported, advertised, supplied and exported. According to Health Minister Andrew Little:
It will enable New Zealand to take advantage of advances in medicine, such as cell and tissue therapies, emerging gene therapies, and the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning software. Having risk-proportionate approval systems will improve access to necessary and life-saving medicines, such as vaccines in a pandemic.
An important part of the bill aims to regulate the natural health products used by more than 50% of our population. This is the third attempt of the Labour Party to introduce extreme regulation of the public’s options to choose their medical care, supplements, and diet. Their earlier two attempts failed because of vocal public opposition. In 2017 Labour opted for a prohibited list of 300 common herbal ingredients (for some of these see photo):
It won’t have escaped your notice that many of these like Cinnamon and Mustard are currently sold in shops. So how on earth did they get onto a prohibited list? The answer lies in attempts to gain control of our food supply. Natural products that are beneficial to health cannot be patented, but synthetic copies can be. To make this work, the products that grow in gardens need to be banned.
Labour and the Ministry of Health did not make this list up, the list was supplied by the International Coalition of Medicines Regulatory Authorities (ICMRA) of which Medsafe is a member. ICMRA is largely funded by the pharmaceutical industry whose interests they serve. You can read all about it in my book ‘Your DNA Diet’ available as a Kindle from Amazon or a hard copy from the Hatchard Report.
Labour says it has learned from prior public opposition. This time the Bill will not name any prohibited ingredients. Instead, is an enabling bill, the type of legislation made famous by Adolf Hitler. The Bill establishes a new regulator headed by an independent statutory officer, with a wide remit:
The new regulator will be responsible for ensuring the safety, quality and efficacy of natural products. It will design and implement proportionate, risk-based market authorisation pathways. Its functions will include, in addition to market authorisation, licensing-controlled activities, post-market surveillance, and compliance.
These services will be funded through levies on the industry which are liable to be costly. Government regulatory schemes mooted in the last two attempts were likely to push small players out of the market due to the cost of compliance, as happened as a result of the Food Bill.
Crucially the Bill also includes a range of modern enforcement tools allowing for a graduated and proportionate response to breaches, including tiered criminal offences, strict liability offences, improved infringement notices and a civil pecuniary penalty regime.
In other words, the Bill appoints a new, as yet, unnamed regulator who is being empowered to do whatever he thinks fit to control the manufacture and availability of supplements. He could, and is in fact very likely to publish a list of banned herbal ingredients soon after his appointment. The list is ready to go from the ICMRA database connected to Medsafe courtesy of the pharmaceutical industry.
If we wish to be able to continue to freely chose herbal medicines and supplements without government interference, we will need to speak up. Go to THIS link to make a submission before 15 February. Write to your Member of Parliament and complain that the appointment of a regulator amounts to an open-ended blank cheque to control the use of products used by more than 50% of our population without fully specifying the principles he should use.
About the Author
Guy Hatchard, PhD, was formerly a senior manager at Genetic ID a global food testing and safety company (now known as FoodChain ID). You can subscribe to his websites HatchardReport.com and GLOBE.GLOBAL for regular updates by email. GLOBE.GLOBAL is a website dedicated to providing information about the dangers of biotechnology.
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