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Company Guilty Of Selling Non-Approved Medicine

Company Guilty Of Selling Non-Approved Medicine.

Lyprinol (NZ) Ltd has been successfully prosecuted for selling a product derived from green lipped mussels as a cure for cancer.

The company admitted in North Shore District Court today two charges relating to the sale and advertising of Lyprinol as a new medicine without consent. Ten other charges, two against the company, and eight against company directors Kennedy Garland and Richard Waitzer, were withdrawn by the Ministry of Health who bought about the prosecution.

Lyprinol (NZ) Ltd admitted it breached section 20 of the Medicines Act 1981 which states that it is an offence to sell, distribute or advertise the availability of a new medicine before the Minister of Health has consented to such distribution. It also admitted causing, or permitting, to be published a medical advertisement that directly, and /or by implication, claimed that the medicine of the description advertised, namely Lyprinol, would prevent, alleviate, or cure cancer or arthritis. This is in breach of section 58 of the Act.

Ministry of Health Senior Enforcement Advisor, Stephen Anthony, said it was a strategic decision to withdraw the charges against Lyprinol (NZ) Ltd's directors.

"We feel that the conviction sends a sufficiently strong message to the industry wihout the need to prosecute the directors," Mr Anthony said.

Sentencing for Lyprinol (NZ) Ltd has been adjourned to October 24, pending the outcome of an appeal by the Health Ministry against the sentence handed down to Pacific Pharmaceuticals.

Pacific Pharmaceuticals, the New Zealand distributor of Lyprinol, was recently fined $5150 after admitting its role in the sale and advertising of the green-lipped mussel extract. The appeal is due to be heard October 13.

END

Background Information:

Lyprinol came to the attention of the Ministry of Health in July 1999 when there was significant coverage in television and newsprint of a story about the product being a possible cure for cancer.

The product was originally sold as a dietary supplement and, under these regulations, the distributor of the product is not permitted to make claims that the product may treat or cure any diseases or medical conditions.

To be able to market a product as a medicine, it must first be assessed as to its safety, quality and effectiveness by Medsafe, the medicines regulatory branch of the Ministry of Health, to be registered on the schedule of permitted medicines.

ENDS

For further information contact Annie Coughlan Media Advisor, 04 496 2483 or 0252775411

website address: http://www.moh.govt.nz/media.html

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