The Natural Health Products Bill, a First Reading of which has
been unanimously passed before Parliament recently, paves the way
for positive reform of the New Zealand natural health products
The Bill proposes establishment of a Natural Health Products
Regulatory Authority who will assess the safety, quality and
efficacy of all natural health product ingredients. In addition the
Bill gives power to the Regulatory Authority to impose penalties
against those manufacturers or importers who contravene new
Regulations. In this way, the proposed legislation aims to ensure
that all natural products are safe and of high quality to give
consumers and manufacturers confidence that natural health products
are true to label. This is a positive move for both industry
participants and consumers.
Current natural health products are regulated as dietary
supplements under the Dietary Supplements Regulations 1985 or
supplemented foods under the New Zealand (Supplemented Food)
Standard 2010. These dual standards are widely considered to be
confusing for the industry and difficult to enforce.
The main reforms under the Bill include:
All New Zealand manufacturers and importers will be required to
notify the Regulatory Authority before releasing their products
onto the market;
All natural products for distribution in New Zealand will have
to comply with labeling requirements who will be set out in
Regulations to be issued by the Regulatory Authority. Each existing
natural product ingredient will be considered either approved or
All manufacturers will need to apply for a license to
manufacture under the Bill which will only be issued if the
applicant and the applicants manufacturing facilities meet the
requirement of a Code of Practice; and
Penalties against those entities who commit an offence under
the Bill will include product recall and prosecution including
financial penalties of up to $500,000 for companies and up to
$50,000 or 5 years imprisonment for individuals.
The Bill will go before the Health Select Committee next term
who will then call for submissions in due course (likely from
February 2012 onwards). The Bill may come into effect as early as
next year following the drafting of Regulations.
James & Wells Intellectual Property1 is a
principal sponsor of the voluntary industry body, Natural Products
New Zealand, and acts for a large number of companies in this
sector. We believe the Bill is a positive step to protect consumers
and facilitate growth of the natural products industry through
stringent regulatory standards. We look forward to working with the
industry on submissions to the Select Committee and the drafting of
Regulations to effectively implement the Bill.
1 Refers to the ownership of an intangible
thing - the innovative idea behind a new technology, product,
process, design or plant variety, and other intangibles such as
trade secrets, goodwill and reputation, and trade marks. Although
intangible, the law recognises intellectual property as a form of
property which can be sold, licensed, damaged or
trespassed upon. Intellectual property encompasses
patents, designs, trade marks and copyright.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
James and Wells is the 2010 New Zealand Law Awards winner of
the Intellectual Property Law Award for excellence in client
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