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Exports for natural health products jeopardised

MEDIA RELEASE
1 June 2006


Exports market for natural health products jeopardised


The country’s $500 million natural products industry could be placed in jeopardy if the Trans Tasman regulatory scheme for complementary medicines proposed by the Ministry of Health goes ahead in its current proposed form.

Natural Products New Zealand represents a significant proportion of New Zealand natural health product manufacturers, from large companies to small practitioners, in an industry with exports of more than $300 million.

Executive Director of Natural Products New Zealand, Michelle Beckett, said after a review of the Draft Rules for the Proposed Regulatory Scheme issued by the Ministry of Health last week she has grave concerns for companies who are involved with exporting complementary medicines.

“Concerns have been raised by a number of member exporters that the Draft Rules for the joint agency threaten New Zealand’s ability to promote and grow exports of dietary supplements and other natural products. The proposed Licensing of Export Only Medicines means that instead of manufacturing to the importing country’s standards as is currently being done, companies will have to manufacture to joint agency standards which are irrelevant to the customer country.

“A vast new set of paperwork will be required to be completed by the importer and they just won’t bother but will simply take their business elsewhere. This is the very reason why so many firms come to New Zealand for contract manufacture in the first place, rather than Australia.

“Do we want companies to say ‘it’s too hard to deal with New Zealand’, because with these Rules in place, that is exactly what companies around the world will be saying about NZ natural products companies,” says Ms Beckett.

Natural Products New Zealand believes there is a need for an updated regulatory model for complementary medicines in New Zealand and has worked constructively with the Ministry of Health to that effect. Natural Products New Zealand however does not want New Zealand to simply adopt the Australian’s Therapeutic Goods Association’s (TGA) model.

“The approach needs to be worked through in consultation with New Zealand industry and based on an affordable, cost effective, risk based system,” concluded Ms Beckett.

Both Natural Products New Zealand and industry companies have raised the issue of Licensing of Export Only Medicines with the Medsafe Trans Tasman Taskforce prior to the drafting of the Joint Agency Rules and are disappointed those concerns have not been addressed.

NPNZ, along with other stakeholders, will be meeting with the Ministry of Health next week in Christchurch and Auckland to discuss the Draft Rules.

ENDS

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