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NZ Healthcare Handed To Aussies

Media Release
9 December 2003

NZ Healthcare Handed To Aussies

Rt Hon Winston Peters has warned the Health Minister Annette King not to hand the healthcare of New Zealanders over to Australia by signing a treaty to set up a joint drugs regulation agency tomorrow.

The new Trans Tasman Joint Therapeutic Agency (JTA), which will be effective from 1 July 2005, will regulate drugs, over the counter medicines, dietary supplements and alternative medicines.

Mr Peters said that the Government was signing away our capability to control both pharmaceutical drugs and so-called “natural” medical products and dietary supplements to Australia and some pharmaceutical companies were already relocating there.

“We believe that consumers should be protected through regulation of both pharmaceutical drugs and natural remedies but it should be an expert process based in this country.

“It should be remembered that the Pan Pharmaceuticals case, in which the culprit was a pharmaceutical product, was allowed to happen in Australia and the effect flowed on to innocent parties in New Zealand.

“There is widespread concern that natural remedies and dietary supplements are to be hammered under the new JTA regime.

“The hypocrisy of the Government’s position is shown by the fact that traditional Maori Rongoa medicine has been exempt from the new Australian-based system.

“Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia removed ”natural” Maori medicine from the agenda and the Minister has kept very quiet about this separatist approach.,” said Mr Peters.

ENDS

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