FAQ

DEFINITIONS

What is a natural product?
There is no universal legal definition of the term ‘natural’. Broadly speaking, natural products are directly formulated from organisms and substances (such as plants, algae or minerals) found in nature.

How does New Zealand legislation define ‘natural product’?
In the forthcoming Natural Health Products Bill a natural product is defined as: “Any product that is, or appears to be, manufactured for human use; and for the primary purpose of bringing about a health benefit to the person who uses the product”.

What does the Global Burden of Disease mean?
This term was used in a 2010 study* in over 50 countries, which quantified health loss levels and trends due to disease, injury and risk factors. The study discussed how high burden diseases (e.g. diabetes and cardiovascular disease) are putting a significant strain on the health system because current treatment is inadequate for reversing or halting such diseases’ progression.
(*Ref: Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2010, led by Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at University of Washington http://www.healthdata.org)

What is integrative medicine?
It is an approach that integrates alternative and mainstream medical practices.

HEALTH CHOICES

Is it ok to self-medicate with dietary supplements or should I seek advice before taking anything?
Natural Health Products NZ recommends people consult a health professional before taking any dietary supplement.

How do I know which natural products to trust?
Natural Health Products NZ members adhere to a strict code of ethics, which is actively enforced. This means that our members have agreed to produce high quality products that are safe and effective.

How do I know the products I take have accurate ingredient labelling?
New Zealand law requires all natural products made and sold here to have accurate ingredient labelling. Our exporters also must adhere to other territories labelling requirements.

How can I be sure the products will work?
As is the case with other types of health remedies, natural products work best if the correct product is taken for the health condition, and the right dosage is taken at the right time. This is why we recommend that people consult with a health professional before taking any dietary supplements.

Please be aware that natural products tend to take longer to work than pharmaceutical medicines, and the improvement may be felt more gradually. Your health professional will be able to advise you on what to expect.

Is taking dietary supplements usually the best option?
Although healthy lifestyle choices are the best option, this is not always possible or practical so it can help to take dietary supplements. Every case is different so we recommend consulting with a health professional for further advice.

UPDATED REGULATORY REGIME FOR NATURAL HEALTH PRODUCTS

For many years Natural Health Products NZ has advocated for a modern, workable and affordable regulatory regime for manufacturing, marketing and selling natural health products (which currently come under the Food Act). Having modern regulations will bring many benefits, including enabling consumers to be given more meaningful information about these products. Importantly, aligning this country’s regulations with those of our major export markets will be good for New Zealand’s natural health industry, as well as the wider economy.

Natural Health Products NZ is committed to getting new legislation for natural health products and continues to engage with the Government on this matter.

NATURAL HEALTH PRODUCTS NZ

What is Natural Health Products NZ’s purpose?
We are the industry association for natural products in New Zealand. Our mission statement is: “To increase the profile of New Zealand as a source of quality natural products and to foster the development of a sustainable natural products sector through collaboration.” We do this by:

  • Helping the natural products industry to build upon its significant and growing contribution to New Zealand’s economy (currently an estimate $1 billion per year).
  • Advocating for workable regulation.
  • Ensuring the industry maintains high product quality, safety and efficacy standards.
  • Promoting natural health products’ recognised complementary role in health management and support.
  • Facilitating the growth and development of a vibrant, collaborative and innovative industry.
  • Providing a cohesive and consistent national voice for the New Zealand industry.
  • Enhancing New Zealand’s international reputation as a source of high quality natural products.

How do you make sure your members are operating ethically and in line with the law?
All members are required to sign our Code of Conduct and to abide by that. If a breach of this Code is brought to our attention the Natural Health Products NZ Board takes it up with the company concerned.

What is Natural Health Products NZ’s view on pharmaceutical drugs?
Natural Health Products NZ promote integrative medicine, which is a holistic approach to healthcare that combines alternative and mainstream medical practises and therapies (including pharmaceutical drugs, where appropriate).

How is Natural Health Products NZ governed?
Natural Health Products NZ is governed by a Board of Directors, which is elected by full members at the Annual General Meeting. Under the terms of our constitution, the board may comprise between 5 and 9 members.

OTHER

Why are dietary supplements and pharmaceutical drugs legislated differently?
Supplements are not considered drugs mostly due to the low level of risk to consumers. Therefore supplements are not put through the same strict safety and effectiveness requirements as medicines are.

Why is there such fast growth in consumer demand for dietary supplements and other natural products?
Natural health products have a recognised complementary role to play in health management and support. Although there are many different reasons for the increasing demand worldwide, it reflects a growing desire for affordable, effective and holistic health care options that complement or replace pharmaceutical products.

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