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THE THERAPEUTIC PRODUCTS BILL- ‘Is to restrict access to commonly available supplements, and food substances’.

Recently, I attended a meeting in Wellington. The meeting was held in the Public Trust Hall, corner of Lambton Quay and Stout Street.
The purpose of the meeting was to hear speakers discuss the Therapeutic Products Bill.
The Therapeutic Products Bill is presently before Parliament and is supported by all the parties in the House. This support includes the Act Party.
The preamble to the Bill states: “Therapeutic Products are medicines, medical devices, natural health products, and pharmaceutical ingredients. The bill seeks to provide for the regulation of therapeutic products in a way that is comprehensive and balances the risks and benefits of the products.”
The Bill was introduced to Parliament last December and was granted urgency. The period for filing submissions was set to expire at the beginning of March of this year, but was extended for about a month.
Why a Bill of this importance should be granted urgency is a mystery.
In the end, sixteen thousand submissions were filed. Most submissions were opposed to the Bill; and those people who opposed the Bill and requested to be heard in support of their submission were barely listened too.
This is the third time that the New Zealand Government has presented such a Bill to Parliament.
The first occasion was in about 2013 when the National led Government of John Key introduced a similar Bill; and the second attempt was in 2017 when Jacinda Adhern’s Labour Government introduced a similar Bill; and the regime is a very draconian one. It imposes very heavy penalties and lengthy prison terms.
The 2017 Bill had attached to it a list of approximately 5000 substances which would come under the regime proposed in the Bill.
These substances included spices such as ginger, turmeric, and fenugreek.
Whilst the current Bill does not contain such a list, there is provision for substances to be added later.
On each occasion in the past, the Bill has been strongly opposed by New Zealand First.
The speakers at the 2 May meeting were Lisa Hansen, a Wellington Barrister. Lisa was representing The NZ Health Trust; Paddy Fahy who was representing the Natural Health Alliance; Winston Peters from New Zealand First; Dr. Guy Hatchard, an international Health & Natural Medicine Advocate, Dr. Bruce Dooley, a medical practitioner, and Gary Moller.
Once again, New Zealand First opposes the proposed legislation.
About 300 people attended the meeting, and all speakers were well received.
This topic is very broad, but it is safe to say that the purpose of the Bill is to restrict access to commonly available supplements, and food substances.
Following the withdrawal of the 2017 Bill the Government gave an undertaking that natural substances would not be included in any future Bill. Clearly this undertaking has been forgotten.
If anyone wishes to learn more about the reasons for the opposition to the Bill, readers can consult the web sites of the individual speakers.
It is most likely that the Bill will be past before the upcoming election in October.
So, the only avenue available to opponents of the Bill is to support political parties which oppose the Bill.
(Peter Morahan is a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand. He practises in Lower Hutt from offices in High Street. Peter has a particular interest in health matters.)