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Long Awaited Medicine Law Reform Progresses

A rewrite of the Medicines Act that has been sitting in the wings for more than five years finally made progress in Parliament today

MPs on a voice vote moved the first reading of the Medicines Amendment Bill and sent it to the Health Committee for consideration and report back by July 2012.

During the debate the Associate Minister of Health Peter Dunne said the bill was a reform of the Medicines Act 1981 to modernise the definitions of medicine and medical devices and align them with international norms.

The bill would the align the prescribing framework for all medical professions and allow for a delegated prescriber to work under authorisation.

Maryan Street said Labour would support the bill to select committee, but further reform of medicines regulations would still be needed ``The question is why not now’’.

Much of what was in the bill before the House had been ready in 2007, but had been stalled because of ``naked politics’’.

Street said New Zealand had lost five years in reforming the sector because National in opposition had opposed regulation of therapeutic products and this had stopped all reform progress.

National MP Paul Hutchinson blamed Labour for not making the health sector more productive and able to deliver high quality health services.

He said this bill would help achieve those aims.

All parties said they would support the bill at least as far as select committee consideration.

MPs then began the first reading debate of the Corrections Amendment Bill.

**
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