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Advice On Complementary And Alternative Medicine

Next Steps In Developing Advice On Complementary And Alternative Medicine

There has been significant interest in a discussion document on the regulation and policy issues relating to complementary and alternative medicines, with more than 300 written submissions received.

The document, “Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Current Policies and Policy issues in New Zealand and Selected Countries” has been circulated by the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Complementary and Alternative Health in the last few months.

The closing date for written submissions was Monday 30 June. Over May and June, the Committee also conducted hearings in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington and heard 14 oral submissions.

The document sought responses related to several of the Committee’s Terms of Reference:

- Whether regulation of practitioners, modalities and/or products is needed. If so which form of regulation is needed; - The adequacy of current information and preferred methods of providing information to consumers; - The adequacy of current evidence of the efficacy of complementary and alternative medicine and the need and suggested focus for further research to be undertaken in New Zealand; - Whether and if so how complementary and alternative medicine could be integrated with mainstream medicine.

Committee Chair, Professor Peggy Koopman-Boyden says "Submissions have been received from individuals and organisations representing those who practise one or several forms of complementary and alternative medicine, those involved in mainstream medicine, members of the public and from a number of voluntary and interest groups.”

“We really appreciate the time people have taken to let us know their views and ideas through their written or oral submission, or at one of our public presentations."

The Committee is now analysing the submissions to draw out implications for their work programme in order to provide advice to the Minister of Health. Next stages include:

· Late September – Delivery of “Summary of Submissions” document to the Minister of Health · Late October – Publication of Summary of Submissions and Draft Recommendations document. · By 30 June 2004 – Based on further research and deliberations Committee delivers final report providing advice to Minister of Health in response to Terms of Reference.

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