Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


GM Cholera Vaccine Withdrawn

The Environmental Risk Management Authority has asked that a cholera vaccine be recalled because it contains a genetically modified organism (GMO) and it has not been approved under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act.

The Ministers handling this issue, Marian Hobbs, Annette King and Phillida Bunkle, confirmed the recall in a joint statement today.

The vaccine, Orochol Berna, involves live bacteria that have been genetically modified. It has been imported since 1998 and given to New Zealanders going into high risk cholera areas overseas for long periods, such as aid workers, sailors and some tourists. Australia, Canada and Switzerland are among countries that have approved its use.

ERMA New Zealand was formally advised about the vaccine by the Ministry of Health after Medsafe had approved the vaccine for use under the Medicines Act.

"But HSNO Act approval was not sought at that time and that is a matter of considerable legal concern," the Ministers said. "Given the Medsafe approval, officials have advised there is no reason to suppose the vaccine poses any risks, but we cannot be sure until the particular criteria of the HSNO Act have been applied."

Under normal circumstances, when alternatives are available, the response would be total withdrawal of the vaccine until or unless an HSNO approval had been obtained. The Government has initiated urgent action to obtain alternative stocks to be made available as soon as possible. Total withdrawal would leave New Zealand without any access to a suitable vaccine.

“That would be unacceptable,” the Ministers said. “We have reluctantly agreed that access should be maintained through the interim period. "

The Ministry of Health will therefore ask the importer, Pharmabroker Sales Ltd, to cease importing and distributing the vaccine and to arrange for the recall of all vaccine stocks in the country. But existing stocks will be retained in secure containment and made available to GPs for use in emergencies, until an alternative is available.

The Ministers were adamant that this situation should not be allowed to happen again. This view had also been strongly communicated to them by ERMA New Zealand.

“We endorse the advice from ERMA New Zealand that any recurrence will be dealt with strictly in terms of the HSNO Act," they added. "In this case New Zealand can probably survive without this vaccine, but we don't want to be in the situation of New Zealanders not being able to take advantage of advances in medicine that could save lives."

The Ministry of Health and ERMA are aware of the need to provide workable arrangements which meet both public health needs and environmental needs through the HSNO Act, the Ministers said. Both agencies were committed to working as quickly as possible to agree arrangements to make this happen.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Also, Loan Interest: Productivity Commission On Tertiary Education

Key recommendations include better quality control; making it easier for students to transfer between courses; abolishing University Entrance; enabling tertiary institutions to own and control their assets; making it easier for new providers to enter the system; and facilitating more and faster innovation by tertiary education providers... More>>


Higher Payments: Wellington Regional Council Becomes A Living Wage Employer

Councillor Sue Kedgley said she was delighted that the Wellington Regional Council unanimously adopted her motion to become a Living Wage employer, making it the first regional council in New Zealand to do so. More>>


Scoop Images:
Dame Patsy Reddy Sworn In As Governor-General

This morning Dame Patsy Reddy was sworn in as the New Zealand Realm’s 21st Governor-General. The ceremony began with a pōwhiri to welcome Dame Patsy and her husband Sir David Gascoigne to Parliament. More>>


Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>


With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>


Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news