Your Views

Have your say on the issues of the day

The Government defeat on alternative medicines

The Government is set to look at using ministerial powers to create domestic regulations for complementary medicines after it conceded defeat yesterday on a transtasman regulatory agency.

Other parties are crowing about the embarrassing failure and describing the minority Government as a "lame duck".

Here is the latest selection of Your Views:

Jim Cable
This Bill was never more than a spuriously unjustified attempt to establish unneeded and unwanted governmental control. It was never going to deliver what its inane governmental trumpeters claimed or what a few mindless proponents of nanny state insisted it would. Proposed to be run by an Australian business corporation - not even a supposedly disinterested government department - its sole potential would have lain in the ability to thwart the rights and pursuits of competent health-seeking individuals who wished to be free to determine their own health supplement agendas. The poor citizens of Australia and Germany are now prevented from importing their choice of vitamin and herbal supplements/medicines. To introduce such restrictions here would be utterly abhorrent.

Anahera (Kaitaia)
For the sake of affordability and accessibility to alternative remedies I am very pleased that this Bill has been dropped and I hope it's never resuscitated.

Bruce
I'm pleased this has failed because clearly it was not the will of the people. It is good that the minority Clark government has not been able to ram this down our throats as they did with the smacking bill.

Garry Hooker
It is exhilarating to see that parliament, rather than cabinet, is now ruling the country. After all, that is what MMP was supposed to be about. Hopefully, our arrogant government's defeat on the supplementary medicines issue will be the commencement of others to come. The third reading of the unjust Te Roroa Claims Settlement Bill for instance already has had to be postponed three times simply because government does not have the numbers to enact it.

Tim Wilkes (Avondale)
I'm appalled that the charlatans and quacks of the supplements industry will continue to get away with peddling their lies and claiming false benefits for longer. Yes, there's some truth in what they say for some products, but to be allowed to advertise without restriction is ludicrous - these companies aren't interested in peoples' health, just in parting them from the money in their wallets.


Hyperborean
No worries; all they'll do next is creat a 'scare' over vitamins and then you'll all be DEMANDING that they are withdrawn..

Lindsay Walton
This bill was a farce from the beginning. Annette King should be censured for signing an agreement with Australia just a few days before a select committee recommended that it was against our interests. The Coroner has stated that nobody has died in the past 20 years from taking supplements which is in contrast to the tens of thousands of New Zealanders who have died by taking correctly prescribed pharmaceutical. The only problem with supplements is that they damage the financial health of pharmaceutical companies (because you cant patent them) - which was the driving force behind this bill. Yes we need to regulate the NZ sickness industry where by a huge number of people are needlessly on a cocktail of harmful pharmaceutical drugs. Its great marketing and great for profits but not great for peoples health. I'd also like to know why the Australian owned NZ Herald, when thousands of people marched through the streets in protest, and which would have a dramatic effect on how many NZers maintain their health, barely reported it. Most people were completely in the dark about it.

Allison Milne
I agree that regulation is required but at the moment Medsafe is carrying out that role here in NZ. I cannot understand why such preparations such as nutraceuticals require standards such as Pharmaceutical preparations and I cannot understand the need for such costs involved in settting up the ANZTGA and there are still many products used in NZ which are not registered in Australia. Also the Australian industry suffered greatly after the Pan episode and the reaction by authorities to that was totally over the top. Is that what we want here? Control under food regulations would be more reasonable.


Rob
It is a very soft attitude from the govt. Way down in the polls and a year out from elections, this is just a PR exercise.


Peter
I am not pleased that this bill has been dropped - reason is that NZ policing of compounds is inept as evidenced by the current flap over 'karicare' perhaps if Australians are monitoring more decisive action will be taken! This is of course a sad reflection on our government and its officials.


Hamish Daley
I am extremely happy the bill has failed, and hope very much to see it stay failed .

Vitamin pill popper (Auckland)
Good news that the bill has been dropped.I have a prostate condition that I was told by my urologist could not be medicated or treated (sorry, live with it) that a pharmacy herbal remedy has controlled perfectly for about 8 or 10 years. Likewise I was told three years ago by my GP that glucosamine was my only hope as a possible alternative to knee surgery, because further long-term anti-inflammatories were not an option. I still go deer-stalking (59 years old) and my long-standing rotator cuff injuries (shoulders) have settled as well. I have stopped and started both regimes regularly to test the remedies and the conditions flare or abate with the herbal remedy stops & starts. I will not have anyone messing with my availability of these remedies when I am perfectly convinced of their efficiency and I am reliant on them for my well-being.


Kevin
It is disappointing National decided to play politics on this issue and use it to embarrass the government for political purposes. Although there were problems with this bill it had the opportunity to streamline bureaucracy by not having separate medicine registrations in the two countries. It would have been more sensible to refer the bill back for further work.In a country that claims a high standard of consumer protection it seems hypocritical that alternative medicines don't have to come under the same regulations as researched medicines. In the vast majority of studies alternative therapies have been shown to have no effect over and above the placebo effect. In the few cases where an effect might be seen, the compound producing that effect is soon isolated, turned into a medicine and it is no longer alternative anymore. That is why there never can be a true "alternative medicine".The major objections to alt med are its unregulated nature and the use of public funds to pay for it. Observational evidence indicates it does harm through adverse drug interactions, poor and missed diagnosis, misuse of compounds etc. Billions of dollars are spent each year doing randomised clinical trials and this money that could have been spent developing rational therapies.All evidence based medicine wants is for alternative therapies to come under the same regulations. Is that really too much to ask?

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