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NZ Chiropractors Voice Opposition To Therapeutic Products Bill

The New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association (NZCA) will today (21st March 2023) tell Parliament’s Health Select Committee that the profession opposes the proposed Therapeutic Products Bill in its entirety in its present form and in particular its approach to Natural Health Products (NHPs).

Speaking in support of its written submission, NZCA President, Dr Cassandra Fairest, chiropractor says: `There are some aspects of the bill that have value, and the protection of the public from products or devices that have been proven to be harmful is important; however the Bill is both overreaching and too overarching and provides insufficient safeguards, directions and transparency in the operation of the Regulator.’

Cassandra Fairest will tell the Health Select Committee that the NZCA believes that natural health products and devices, and allied health approaches be separated from allopathic legislation and be considered in their own right with their own Bill which should be drafted after consultation with stakeholders such as Allied Health Practitioners, Maori Health Practitioners, unregulated health care practitioners, herbalists etc as well as supplement manufacturers and suppliers.

She adds: ‘In our view, the Bill needs to be deconstructed into manageable pieces that reflect the level of risk to the general population from Natural Health Products. The ‘Regulator’ has been given carte blanche to regulate items and products as they deem fit with no transparency, right of appeal, requirement to meet evidential bases, or to give weighting and value to traditional and cultural uses of an item or product. In its present form this Bill is too all-encompassing in its empowerment of the Regulator.’

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The NZCA points out that it is also inappropriate and an obvious bureaucratic overreach to include extremely safe physical treatment devices, instruments and tools such as treatment or massage benches for chiropractic therapy, tools for applying pressure to the body including foam rollers and massage devices for sore muscles, elastic bands to aid stretching joints or rubber balls for practising grip strength within the purview of the Regulator and especially to subject them to the mandatory market authorisation mechanism.

Cassandra Fairest says: `Whilst the aims of the Bill are laudable, it is our belief that the Bill misses the mark widely, and by design or not, will lead to the unintended consequences of severely limiting natural health care choices for New Zealanders which to date have very few adverse consequences, and have benefits that far outweigh any risks.’

Chiropractors are regulated primary health care professionals registered under the HPCA Act with close to 700 annual practicing certificate holders working in solo, group, and multidisciplinary clinics around New Zealand. New Zealand chiropractors have significant training (a minimum 5-year tertiary degree) and a broad yet highly skilled scope of practice and clinical expertise.

New Zealand’s chiropractors are taking the lead to inform and inspire people to improve their health and prevent pain and disability by educating the public to have a greater understanding of the relationship between their spine and nervous system and how this affects their function and overall well-being.

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