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Stop the Natural Remedy Witch-Hunt Greens Say

6 March 2008

Stop the Natural Remedy Witch-Hunt Greens Say

Green Party MP Sue Kedgley is calling on the Government to stop Medsafe's witch-hunt of the dietary supplements industry, and to work instead with the local industry on a New Zealand based regulatory scheme for dietary supplements.

"I am outraged to learn that Medsafe has a team of auditors trawling through internet sites and approaching dietary supplements manufacturers, threatening them with closure if they make any therapeutic claims for any of their products - even essential oils and other harmless products.

"This has all the appearance of a witch-hunt, and Medsafe are under suspicion of making a retaliatory strike because the draconian legislation the Government was trying to push through Parliament last year failed to get sufficient political support. I note that Medsafe began hiring the auditors last year, when the legislation failed to pass."

Ms Kedgley says the Government has no political mandate for its new policy of not allowing any therapeutic claims to be made around natural remedies and dietary supplements.

"This represents a new policy, and as such it should be based on legislation that has been passed through Parliament. Having failed to get a legislative mandate, Medsafe appears to be over-asserting its powers in a punitive and draconian fashion.

"Clearly it is trying to introduce the heavy-handed system the Government failed to get political support for via the backdoor, and this is totally unacceptable.

"I am therefore appealing to the Minister of Health to step in and tell Medsafe to stop their vengeful activities, and instead sit down with the local industry and work out a sensible regime for regulating dietary supplements and natural remedies," Ms Kedgley says.

Ms Kedgley notes Medsafe's Dr Stuart Jessamine claims the witch-hunt is being carried out 'in the interests of public health.'

"Can I suggest he divert the efforts of his team of auditors to pharmaceutical medicines instead, as many of these have caused adverse reactions, many very serious, to thousands of New Zealanders, rather than focusing on essential oils and other beneficial products which have been safely used for centuries".


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