We agree that much like the misuse of drugs act 1975, the dietary supplements regulations 1985 are out of date and no longer fit for purpose.
However we and many of our customers are deeply concerned that the bill will be overly restrictive, limiting our health freedoms including our access to natural products and the right to choose what we put in our own bodies.
The bill is very hard to make a lot of sense of, it's very vague and cluttered up with lots of smoke and mirrors. To further complicate things there are unfounded conspiracy theories going around on social media. It is important that we stick to the facts and raise what are very real concerns without getting sidetracked by fiction.
Our main concerns with the bill at this point are as follows:
- Will the bill limit access to Rongoā Māori (traditional Maori medicine)?
- What about the traditional medicines used by other ethnic groups such as South Americans or Africans?
- What about those who want to use the medicine that was traditionally used by an ethnic group that is not their own, for example Pakeha who may want access to Rongoā Māori?
- What about exotic natural medicines that have not been discovered or not made available here in Aotearoa yet?
- Raw herbs like Lavender, Kava and Peppermint are grown in the soil, so there is certainly no need to require ridiculously (extreme) packaging regulations such as GMP, as has been the case with medical cannabis.
- Will the bill be so restrictive and inflict such excessive costs and requirements, that small businesses are eliminated by what becomes de-facto prohibition favoring big pharma, as has been the case with medicinal cannabis?
- Herbs and supplements have been available in Aotearoa for many decades without causing many problems. Do we really need the Government to protect us from them with more restrictions?
- Will the bill limit what can be put in a dietary supplement, limiting choice, blocking future discoveries and making it all but impossible to import international supplements?
- Will the bill inflict pharmaceutical standards and requirements such as GMP on the natural health industry?
- What about herbs used in a non medicinal way, for example Lavender as incense or in aromatherapy or for recreational purposes?
- Will the bill limit or prohibit access to natural products that while they may cause some harm to some users, they provide an alternative to much more dangerous substances, for example Kratom, which is a much safer alternative to methamphetamine and opiates. Surely addicts and street drug users deserve easy access to safer natural alternatives?
- Psychedelic therapy has recently started going mainstream with Australia being the latest country to allow for the therapeutic use of magic mushrooms and MDMA. Suffering people deserve access to novel treatments. New Zealand will no doubt soon follow Australia and the bill needs to allow for this to happen in a seamless manner.
Have we missed anything or are we being overly concerned? Is there something else we need to highlight? We welcome your concerns or suggestions in the comments below.
The consultation period has begun and submissions are due by Sunday March 5th 2023. If access to natural products is important to you, please have your say and make a submission here. You can view the bill here. You can read other submissions here.
Sources: New Zealand Parliament, Legislation.