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Medsafe Blocks Safe Meds, Recommends Suicidal Meds

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday 2nd April 2008

Medsafe Blocks Safe Meds and Recommends Suicidal Meds

Medsafe recommends New Zealanders keep taking Merck's best-selling Singulair allergy and asthma drug (Saturday's Herald) even though the FDA announced it was reviewing a growing number of reports involving suicidal behaviour and suicide in patients who have taken the drug. Health Freedom questions Medsafe’s (whose name implies safe medicine) agenda.

"It is outrageous that Mesdafe tells us to keep taking such drugs when other countries are issuing warnings. If there is even a suspicion of suicidal side effects surely a regulator, who’s mission is to ensure safe medicine, should be mindful of our already astronomically high iatrogenic (harm caused by drugs and doctors) death toll. Instead they devote their energies to a witch hunt of the natural health Industry. This is strike two for Medsafe." says Health Freedom spokesperson Nicola Grace.

Strike one came when Medsafe said, "keep on taking your drugs and consult your doctor", when UK regulators announced GlaxoSmithKline had been hiding adverse test results of its anti-depressant drug Seroxat (aka Aropax). GSK had suppressed nine clinical trials which showed the drug was ineffective in under eighteen year olds and raised the risk of suicide behaviors. "Can we trust Medsafe?" says Nicola. Can we trust the so called scientific proof they base their approvals on when 20% of Scientists have adminted to changing the methodology, design or results of their studies due to pressure from the organization paying for the study? (Source Nature 2005).

Our iatrogenic death toll is 3 times that of our road toll YET Medsafe have made it a higher priority to appoint extra staff to police natural products which have a safety record of a zero death rate over 20 years. Website owners are being contacted and demands made to remove information from their sites that pertain to a recently broadened definition of therapeutic claims. According to Medsafe it is now illegal to have research, clinical trials and testimonials on your website if they imply a therapeutic benefit for your products. You may not even place links on your website to other sites with research, clinical trials or scientific studies relating to the ingredients in your products. MedSafe's activities have been accurately described by Radio New Zealand National's host Katheryn Ryan, as "Barking mad".

Medsafe's expanded version of the term medicine or therapeutic claims comes from a guidance document issued last year when the general public managed to stop the unpopular "Anti-Vitamin" Bill that would have had the TGA take over Medsafe in an Australian led bureaucracy. After 27 years since the Medicines Act altered the meaning of the world ‘medicine’ so that it only applies to pharmaceutical drugs, Medsafe have hired more staff to enforce the unreasonable aspects of the legislation, in Medsafe's own words to "demonstrate to the industry that the regulations are flawed". Health Freedom says this is clearly a retaliatory move which can only harm the consumer and industry.

Medsafe are now claiming that the Medicines Act forbids practitioners and website owners to mention any of these types of terms in their advertising: Treating or preventing disease (including colds, influenza and parasites). Assisting with general ailments such as pain and inflammation. Altering the shape, structure, size or weight of the human body. Preventing or interfering with the normal operation of a physiological function. Relieves; prevents; treats; a disease or symptoms of a disease or a disease state. Decreases; retards or slows the onset of a normal physiological condition or function. Mentioning that the product or any of its ingredients has been used traditionally for a therapeutic purpose. Using testimonials or personal statements that refer to the product having a therapeutic purpose. Information articles about disease prevention or other therapeutic purposes that includes a brand name of a product or an advertisement for a product on the same or facing page. Informational websites with links to a product. Quoting research or clinical trials. Claims that the product is an alternative to a medicine or group of medicines. You can't say Apply to the affected area, Relieves the symptoms of, Temporary relief of, Assists in the treatment of, May be useful for ". The full document is available on

"This is nothing short of a gag order on the natural health industry" says Nicola. Stores are being raided, safe products confiscated and businesses are going to the wall because they can't advertise their products. "This witch hunt is a terror campaign, probably coached by Australia's notorious TGA who are just itching to get their hands on regulating the New Zealand natural products market out of existence, as they have been doing in Australia." says Nicola.

Health Freedom believes that Medsafe are attempting to intimidate the industry into accepting the proposed Trans-Tasman authority. In playing petty politics it has lost sight of its mission, to protect the health of NZers. Health Freedom suggest it's high time Medsafe spend taxpayers money on ensuring the drugs our doctors prescribe are truly safe instead of harassing the natural health industry who actually help two million New Zealanders every year and do no harm.

It's time for Government to accept the natural health industries proposal for a sensible New Zealand based regulator, free from witch hunters and the foreign multi-billion dollar corporations that Medsafe serves, in the interest of public safety.


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