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Therapeutic Products Act – Is It The Final Nail In The Coffin For The Natural Health Industry?


  • Government legislates in favour of Big Pharma and the industrial medical complex.
  • Therapeutic Products Act is a barrier to consumers’ health interests.
  • New law illustrative of Labour-Green ideology to increase government bureaucracy.

The Therapeutic Products Act, passed this week by the government under urgency, could be the final nail in the coffin for the New Zealand natural health industry, the Natural Health Alliance, a group representing importers, retailers, distributors, and practitioners of natural health products, said today.

“What the public don’t understand is that the Labour-Green coalition government will now have to create a large and expensive bureaucracy to manage regulatory compliance, increasing the amount of tax that New Zealanders will have to pay, all to regulate health products that have minimal to zero health risks to consumers.”

“The Therapeutic Products Act is purely ideological, a testament to Big Pharma’s lobbying expense accounts and demonstrates the agenda of senior Health Ministry bureaucrats to grow their power base,” the Alliance’s chairman Patrick Fahy said. “This specific legislation for New Zealand poses a major threat to all traditional natural health practitioners and the natural health community.”

Even though similar legislation has twice been rejected by previous governments and Parliaments over a 20-year history, senior Medsafe bureaucrats have continued to push this Big Pharma agenda despite it being at odds with the public and stakeholder organisations. The Select Committee received over 16,000 submissions with 97% of them objecting to the Bill.

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Previous governments all committed to an agreement to exclude natural health products from any overhaul of the Medicines Act 1981. This Labour Government previously agreed to that stance, but that was pre-2020 and before they were given unbridled legislative power. The Therapeutic Products Act is what happens when you give unfettered reign to a government that believes in more regulation, not less.

Every single natural health product in New Zealand will now have to go through a prescriptive regulatory regime before it will be approved for sale. All natural health products currently imported into New Zealand will have already been approved as safe in the countries of origin – in most cases either the Food and Drug Administration in the United States, the Therapeutic Goods Administration in Australia, and the equivalent testing regime in the European Union. However, Kiwi importers will still be required to get Medsafe to approve each and every product and pay the government a cost for that. Some companies have more than a thousand products they’ll have to register and will be liable for up to $500,000 in new regulatory costs.

There will be some, perhaps many companies that will be unable to absorb that cost and will close up shop, Mr Fahy predicted. Furthermore, health practitioners will also be liable to eye-watering fines and possible imprisonment under the Act, driving many out of business or developing an underground black-market business.

“The only winners out of this legislation are Big Pharma, because it will eliminate much of the natural health products that are in competition, and Big Tech companies, like Amazon and iHerb, as people buy online direct from overseas at what will be a cheaper price,” Mr Fahy added. The passing of this law will impact the manufacturing and distribution of supplements and favour the coffers of the giant pharmaceutical industry over the health of New Zealanders.

At a time when the country’s health budget costs are “off the charts” to the tune of $28 billion in 2022, the government introduces legislation that will drastically restrict health preventive products to the consumer.

“There is already in place substantial effective government control of natural health products. Instead of drastically controlling and restricting the use of safe and effective natural health products the Ministry of Health should do better controlling and restricting the extremely dangerous pharmaceutical drugs which are now killing us at the rate of a major airline crash per day.”

The only remedy now, for the natural products industry as well as the hundreds of thousands of Kiwis who want to buy them, is for New Zealand to vote out the Labour-Green government and demand any new government repeals this Act on taking office, Mr Fahy said. “With enough public support, any incoming government will be encouraged to remove natural health products from this regime as previously promised.”

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