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Ministry's Lyprinol Appeal Adjourned

13 October 2000

Media Advisory - Ministry's Lyprinol Appeal Adjourned

THE Auckland High Court today adjourned the hearing into the Ministry of Health's appeal of the fine imposed on former Lyprinol distributor Pacific Pharmaceuticals Ltd. Ministry Senior Enforcement Advisor Stephen Anthony said Justice Paterson adjourned the appeal hearing because he preferred it to be considered before a full court due to the seriousness of the issue. A full court involves two judges, instead of one. The Ministry will advise the media when the new hearing date has been set.

ENDS

For further information contact; Sue McCabe, Ministry of Health Media Advisor, 04 496 2067 or 025 495 989 Internet Address;http://www.moh.govt.nz

Background Information

The Ministry lodged the appeal on the grounds that the fine of $5150 imposed on Pacific Pharmaceuticals in September was manifestly inadequate in light of the revenue the company made from its marketing of Lyprinol.

Pacific Pharmaceuticals admitted in an earlier court appearance that 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 and/or arthritis. This breached section 58 of the act.

Pacific Pharmaceuticals was the New Zealand distributor of Lyprinol - a green-lipped mussel extract. Lyprinol was claimed to be effective in the treatment of arthritis and asthma and touted as a possible cure for cancer.

Lyprinol came to the attention of the Ministry of Health in July 1999 when there was 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

Sue McCabe Media Advisor Communications DDI: 496 2067 Fax: 496 2010 mailto:sue_mccabe@moh.govt.nz Ministry of Health

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