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NZMA supports complementary medicine regulation

NZMA supports complementary medicine regulation

The New Zealand Medical Association supports tighter regulation of complementary medicines, to safeguard patients’ interests and wellbeing.

Health Minister Annette King is due to sign a treaty today with her Australian counterpart setting up the trans-tasman therapeutic products agency.

NZMA Acting Chairman Dr Philip Rushmer said the NZMA supports a regulatory framework that applies a consistent and safe approach in the prescribing, advertising, labelling of, and access to complementary medicines, including dietary supplements

“It is vitally important that such products should be subject to the same scientific testing as conventional medicines. If this does not happen, those promoting alternative treatments should not make unproven claims about their efficacy or exclude relevant information about the expected benefits, side effects and risks.

“The NZMA is concerned at the aggressive marketing of some substances that are potentially harmful when taken with conventional medicines. The public has a right to know whether the therapeutic claims and benefits made about such products are justified or not, and whether the products are made to quality standards that are enforceable and ensure public safety.

Dr Rushmer said the current situation in New Zealand provides for very limited controls and relies on a ‘buyer beware’ approach that the NZMA considers is ill advised when we are talking about people’s health and life choices.

“It makes considerable sense for such regulations to be consistent with our Australian counterparts, particularly for reasons of the cost effectiveness of introducing higher standards.”

ENDS

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