Natural Health Products Bill FAQ

Fact versus Fiction

There is a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation about the Natural Health Products Bill and the associated Regulations. The questions and answers below will help you to sort the fact from the fiction.

General questions about the Bill

KEY FACTS:

• Natural Health Products NZ supports the Bill because we believe it will benefit consumers, the natural products sector and the wider New Zealand economy

Click on the questions below to find out the facts:

What is the difference between the Natural Health Products Bill (Act) and the Regulations?
Why is the Bill necessary? Doesn’t other legislation already cover the areas it seeks to regulate?
Isn’t the Bill overkill given that there’s low risk of someone being harmed by natural products?
Is the Bill bad for complementary and integrative medicine?
Isn’t the Bill imposing outdated restrictions on health care, self-care, and preventive health care?
What can companies or individuals do if they are not happy with the Bill’s provisions once it is enacted (i.e. becomes law)?
Is the Bill restricting the public’s right to information and choice?

 

How the Bill will affect who and where you can buy natural health products from

KEY FACTS:

• You should still be able to buy natural health products from the same places that you can today.

• You will still be able to buy the vast majority of natural health products.

Click on the questions below to find out the facts:

Will I still be able to buy natural health products on the Internet (from NZ or off-shore suppliers)?
How will it affect direct-to-consumer distributors who are selling products that have been sourced off-shore?

Will natural health practitioners still be able to dispense their own preparations?

 

Questions about traditional / cultural / herbal medicine / ‘common kitchen foods’

KEY FACTS:

• You will still be able to buy the vast majority of traditional, cultural and herbal medicine products.

• The Bill will not apply to common kitchen foods such as herbs and spices when they are used in food preparation or on a non-commercial context.

Click on the questions below to find out the facts:

Will the Bill discriminate against traditional / cultural / herbal / Rongoā Māori / preparations and ingredients?
Will the Bill allow for anecdotal evidence (e.g. with long-used traditional remedies)?

Will use of common kitchen foods and folk remedies (e.g. aloe vera, cardamom, betel nut, neem, mustard, almond, tamarind, etc.) be restricted under the new regulations?

 

Questions about the Bill’s effect on natural health manufacturers, suppliers and practitioners

KEY FACTS:

• Natural Health Products NZ is working closely with the Ministry of Health to make sure the regulations are fair, workable, and affordable for small and large companies alike

• The Bill will help, rather than hinder, natural products businesses.

Click on the questions below to find out the facts:

Will it put natural health practitioners / small companies out of business?
Are big pharmaceutical companies pushing for the Bill so as to try get rid of competition from natural health products companies?

Won’t the Bill make it prohibitively expensive for businesses to gather the level of proof necessary for an ingredient to be added to the Permitted Ingredients List?

Will the Bill be amended to include safeguards and clauses that cover and define all of the legislation’s substantive intentions?

Will the Bill restrict the application of scientific advancements in plant-based preventive healthcare?

Is it true that the Natural Health Products Bill will result in the rule of confusion rather than the rule of law because the overlapping definitions of a ‘food’, a ‘health benefit’ and a ‘natural health product’ will render the Bill’s clauses to be contradictory?

Doesn’t the Bill confuse foods, natural products, and medicines, and their effects?

Why does the Bill class synthetic chemicals under the term ‘natural’?

 

Questions asked by natural health manufacturers, suppliers and practitioners

KEY FACTS:

• Natural Health Products NZ is working closely with the Ministry of Health to make sure the regulations are fair, workable, and affordable for small and large companies alike

• The regulations are NOT set in concrete and there will be plenty of opportunities to fine-tune them even after the Bill passes into law

• The Bill will ultimately help rather than hinder natural products businesses

• The Bill will greatly benefit anyone who is exporting natural products

Click on the questions below to find out the facts:

Will the Bill allow Medsafe to increase its control over natural health products?
Most supplements have multiple ingredients so is it true that if any one ingredient in a product exceeds a specified dose, then won’t the entire product will be outlawed in NZ?

What recourse do companies have if the regulators decide against adding their ingredient/s to the Permitted Substances List? Will companies end up having expensive legal battles to get their ingredients listed?

Will the Bill undermine companies’ intellectual property rights?

How big is the Permitted Substances List and can it be added to?

Won’t this just open the way for an Australian-style TGA system?

Isn’t shifting the onus from proving harm (i.e. a black list), to providing benefit (i.e. a white list) simply forcing unnecessary compliance costs on the sector?

Won’t the costs of making permitted claims be very expensive?

Won’t the Bill make it harder to export products?

What is happening in relation to herbal extracts?

How much will it cost to comply with the Regulations?

What reporting will be required if anybody has a serious reaction to a natural health product?

 

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