Podcast: Natural health – a new direction

On Friday the Green and National Parties released a proposal to establish a new stand-alone New Zealand regulator for natural health products.

Green Party Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley has been collaborating with Health Minister Tony Ryall and Associate Health Minister Jonathan Coleman on the proposal. This work is part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the Greens and National in April 2009.

In this podcast, Sue speaks about the proposal – why it’s needed, what it sets out to achieve, and what the process is from here.

Co-Leader Russel Norman also reflects on the MOU between the Greens and National in light of the announcement.

You can read the consultation document here.

This week’s music is from Auckland-based “chamber pop” outfit Canadia, off their most recent EP Beg Steal and Burrow.

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4 Comments Posted

  1. I dont really see the point. The vast majority of alternative remedies are very safe, and those that arent get banned anyway, as it is. And they all list ingredients. I hope this doesnt restrict things too much. People should take resposibility for what THEY put into their bodies, and be informed as consumers, rather than be parented by the government.

    I remember the harmless hormone melatonin, which promotes natural sleep without the side effects of sleeping meds. Its was made prescription because “people get bad dreams”. We can already see this kind of big pharma influence and reactionary controls on natural products, and I cant imagine this will make things freer.

    Quality control sure. But seriously, what natural products would be considered “dangerous”?

    And why doesnt this include things like aspirin? Weird.

  2. Frog
    I have downloaded the paper and that is what stimulated my questions.
    I am not opposed to the proposal but these questions are difficult to answer.

    Do you agree with the papers position on aspirin? Does the quinine in tonic water make it subject to this regulation?

    Does the provision for one-to-one treatment allow a poisoner to use this regulation as a defence?
    “I genuinely thought that mercury was a natural medicine.” Or drowning a person as an exorcism?

    Homeopathy is interesting. A homeopathic medicine is diluted water. Will the label actually list the active ingredients as water? And nothing else.

    I see a host of law suits and some fascinating arguments.

  3. Download the consultation paper Owen!

    This is how it suggests defining natural health products:

    It is proposed that a natural health product:

    be intended for administration to human beings for the purpose of achieving a health benefit;

    be in a form normally used for therapeutic products (tablets, capsules, powders, liquids, creams, lotions, ointments, etc);

    be labelled and promoted for one or more of a specified range of natural health product claims;

    contain only ingredients from a published list of low-risk ingredients;
    not be intended for administration to the eye or by injection;

    not contain ingredients from a published list of prohibited ingredients.

    The sorts of ingredients allowed to be included in natural health products would include substances such as herbs and herbal extracts, vitamins, minerals, amino acids and low-risk substances of animal, bacterial or fungal origin. Prescription medicines, pharmacist-only medicines, pharmacy medicines and controlled drugs would not be permitted to be included in natural health products.

    The paper asks for feedback specifically on whether this is an appropriate definition, and whether there are products that fall outside it that should be included, or inside it that should be excluded.

  4. What is a natural health product?

    Is a vaccine a natural health product? Is an antigen based vaccine a natural product?
    Is an antibiotic a natural health product?
    Human insulin?
    Beta blockers?
    I presume quinine would make the grade.

    Or is the term reserved for products which have not been double blind tested?

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