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


FTA loopholes may allow dodgy drugs into NZ

23rd April 2008

FTA loopholes may allow dodgy drugs into NZ

The Government's trade agreement with China could increase the numbers of contaminated and counterfeit medicines coming into New Zealand, Green Party MP Sue Kedgley warned today.

Ms Kedgley's comments follow revelations that contaminated supplies of heparin from China have been linked to 81 deaths in the United States. New Zealand is on the Food and Drug Administration's list of countries that import heparin from China.

"There are provisions in the our trade agreement that require goods to be fast tracked through borders within 48 hours, in both China and New Zealand, with some exemptions," Ms Kedgley says.

"It seems highly likely that this will weaken the safety provisions that both New Zealand and China have in place, and increase the amount of products arriving here that could be contaminated or counterfeit.

"Medsafe must develop a strategy to protect New Zealanders," Ms Kedgley says.

"The problem, as the heparin incident shows, is that there are gaping holes in Chinese safety systems, particularly with the number of chemical companies that sell pharmaceutical ingredients without a drug license.

"The way heparin is made and distributed demonstrates this. The raw material for heparin comes from membranes in the intestines of pigs, which are mixed together and cooked, and this process often takes place in unregulated family workshops in China.

"The ingredients are then transported to plants that manufacture them for shipment to another trader.

"There are so many steps along the way, and each is open to corner-cutting, cost-saving and contamination.

"While China is taking steps to increase safety standards, this case reveals that counterfeit or contaminated products are slipping through the net.

"Clearly we need more stringent safety checks on imported medicines from China, rather than what appears to be an emphasis on getting goods over borders as fast as possible to meet the conditions of our trade deal.

"Medsafe must develop a strategy to protect New Zealanders from contaminated and counterfeit medicines."


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Life And Times Of Peter Dunne

In the end, Mr Pragmatic calmly read the signs of impending defeat and went out on his own terms. You could use any number of clichés to describe Peter Dunne’s exit from Parliament.

The unkind might talk of sinking ships, others could be more reminded of a loaded revolver left on the desk by his Cabinet colleagues as they closed the door behind them, now that the polls in Ohariu had confirmed he was no longer of much use to National. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Labour’s Campaign Launch

One of the key motifs of Ardern’s speech was her repeated use of the phrase – “Now, what?” Cleverly, that looks like being Labour’s response to National’s ‘steady as it goes’ warning against not putting the economic ‘gains’ at risk. More>>


Lyndon Hood: Social Welfare, Explained

Speaking as someone who has seen better times and nowadays mostly operates by being really annoying and humiliating to deal with, I have some fellow feeling with the current system, so I’ll take this chance to set a few things straight.. More>>


Deregistered: Independent Board Decision On Family First

The Board considers that Family First has a purpose to promote its own particular views about marriage and the traditional family that cannot be determined to be for the public benefit in a way previously accepted as charitable... More>>


Transport Policies: Nats' New $10.5bn Roads Of National Significance

National is committing to the next generation of Roads of National Significance, National Party Transport Spokesperson Simon Bridges says. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Why Labour Isn’t Responsible For Barnaby Joyce

As a desperate Turnbull government tries to treat the Barnaby Joyce affair as a Pauline Hanson fever dream – blame it on the foreigners! We’re the victims of the dastardly New Zealand Labour Party! – our own government has chosen to further that narrative, and make itself an accomplice. More>>


Rail: Greens Back Tauranga – Hamilton – Auckland Service

The Green Party today announced that it will trial a passenger rail service between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga starting in 2019, when it is in government. More>>


Housing: Voluntary Rental Warrant Of Fitness For Wellington

Wellington City Council is partnering with the University of Otago, Wellington, to launch a voluntary Rental Warrant of Fitness for minimum housing standards in Wellington, Mayor Justin Lester has announced. More>>





Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election