New Zealand's Natural Health and Supplementary Products Bill has been held up again, with Parliament extending the deadlines for submitting on aspects of the Bill to 31 March 2017 to ensure full consultation.

The Natural Health and Supplementary Products Bill creates a regulatory scheme for low-risk natural health products in New Zealand. The scheme adopts a ‘white list’ approach to natural product ingredients, replacing the current ‘black list’ of prohibited ingredients. Under the scheme, natural health products can only be sold if they contain ingredients permitted by the Ministry of Health.

There will also be a quasi-registration process, whereby natural health products will have to be self-notified by companies on an online database before being sold.

While the proposed new scheme has prompted concerns about compliance costs and lack of access to existing remedies, a clear benefit is the wider scope for companies to make health claims about their products. Companies will be able to make health benefit claims for their products relating to a named condition (eg, arthritis), provided the claims are on the list of permitted claims to be able to be made about that condition and the ingredients in the product. All claims for any named condition are prohibited unless allowed. Companies will be required to hold evidence to demonstrate that they are able to make the relevant claim. Traditional evidence will be accepted if it fits into the Ministry guidelines.

The public is being invited to make submissions on:

  • the draft list of conditions about which a claim can be made, and
  • substances to be added or changed on the draft Permitted Substances List.

The text of the Bill can be found here.