The Therapeutic Products Bill Unpacked.
A message from our GM
Thank you for your enquiry regarding the Therapeutics Products Bill being consulted on and discussed this year.
Here is how I currently see the situation as General Manager of NCNZ …
The consultation process is a long process and although submissions closed in February it’s unlikely to be finalised until later in the year. Being an election year it may also get interrupted and delayed.
The proposed bill is centered on regulating Therapeutic Products and their distribution within New Zealand. That is largely the manufacturing and importing of products used as Therapeutic Products. It also covers Rongoa medicines and herbal products – an area being contested by many Rongoa practitioners.
Which products are regulated and how they are regulated will take almost a year to agree on … if the bill is accepted.
Little is in the draft bill about the regulation of those using these products in their therapeutic practices once products are checked and regulated, except the references to a ‘practitioner’ being able to advise on these products.
Currently in New Zealand a practitioner is a person qualified in the fields of Natural Medicine and/or Natural Health and these are generally members belonging to one of the four key associations covering naturopathy, herbal medicine or nutrition.
Only once the bill is passed (in whatever form it goes through ) and is applied will any guidance on this become clearer… and that may be over a year away.
For students studying in Naturopathy the key will be getting qualified as a practitioner and staying abreast of any regulated products (there are often alternative approaches that can be used for most conditions so any regulation may not be as limiting as first thoughts suggest).
As naturopathy also covers lifestyle, food choices, therapies and a range of other topics, programmes in naturopathy (over and above supplements and herbal medica), will still be valuable programmes for students to enrol in. For those favouring herbs, many of the herbs are culinary herbs and these are unlikely to be impacted by the Bill.
Summarising things … the Bill will take a while to come into law, consultation may mean it is quite different to its current proposed form or it might not come in and little in the Bill currently implies ‘regulation’ of those working as qualified naturopaths.
I hope this has provided some valuable insight for you all.