Pro-Supplement MPs May Block Trans-Tasman Regulatory Plan 28012Pro-Supplement MPs May Block Trans-Tasman Regulatory Plan
January 5, 2004
Pro-Supplement MPs May Block Trans-Tasman Regulatory Plan
WELLINGTON, New Zealand
Ajoint media statement issued by the Ministers of Health for Australia and NewZealand announced the governments signed a treaty on Dec. 10 establishing asingle, bi-national agency to regulate therapeutic products, including medicaldevices, pharmaceuticals, over-the-counter (OTC) drugs and complementarymedicines. Current plans are for the Trans-Tasman Therapeutic Products Agency tocommence operation in July 2005.
The agency will function in a manner similar to the U.S. Foodand Drug Administration (FDA), with responsibility for pre-market evaluation,product licensing, post-market surveillance, manufacturer licensing and standardsetting. According to information from the new agencys project Web site (www.jtaproject.com), there would be no significant changes in the regulation ofprescription and OTC medicines, which are similarly regulated in both countries.However, because there is to be no lowering of standards and becauseregulation of supplements is much stricter in Australia, the plan wouldsignificantly impact how dietary supplements are regulated in New Zealand.
In response to concerns from the New Zealand SupplementIndustry, the Health Committee of the New Zealand House of Representativesconvened an inquiry into the trans-Tasman agency proposal. On Dec. 10, 2003, thecommittee overwhelmingly recommended removing complementary health careproducts, such as dietary supplements, from the purview of the trans-Tasmanregulatory agency. Instead, it asked the New Zealand government to strengthendomestic regulation of dietary supplements, noting current regulations have notbeen enforced in this area.
However, the committee report apparently did not influenceKing, who signed the treaty regardless. In response, MPs from the National, ACT,Greens, New Zealand First and United Future parties held a joint pressconference announcing their parties would not vote for legislation resultingfrom the treaty that would affect regulation of complementary health careproducts. The government, consisting of the Labour and Progressive Coalitionparties, needs the support of legislators from one of the dissenting parties orit wont have enough votes to pass the necessary law.
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