Government moves against natural remedies are Allison’s new worries

Organic NZ Magazine: January/February 2006
Author: Allison Roe

Allison Roe believes that a new combined Australia and New Zealand authority will severely limit consumer access to vitamin and mineral supplements in this country and destroy sectors of the New Zealand natural health industry.

Another health issue that has currently caught Allison¹s attention is the highly contentious Australian-based Trans Tasman Therapeutic Goods Agency (TTTGA) due to come into effect next July ­ but which Allison believes will severely limit consumer access to vitamin and mineral supplements in this country and destroy sectors of the NZ natural health industry.

She says the TTTGA will see natural supplements regulated as pharmaceutical drugs ­ part of an international movement to restrict consumer access to dietary supplements. The natural health industry in New Zealand has spent the past decade in a prolonged and bitter fight to stop such restrictions, but health authorities continue to push ahead despite widespread public and industry opposition.

Australian consumers have already lost access to numerous natural remedies that have simply disappeared off shop shelves, and many Australian natural health companies have been forced out of business. Germany, that has been the first to adopt these restrictive regulations, now sees supplements like vitamin C permitted at a maximum dosage of only 220mg. New Zealanders can still buy vitamin C in up to 1000mg doses to fight illnesses.

In Europe the Alliance for Natural Health headed off a directive from the European Union, which would have seen 280 ingredients, and 5000 vitamin and mineral products banned from European health stores.

Says Allison: “I simply can’t understand why at a time when the government and hospitals are clearly struggling to cope with demand on health services, authorities want to hinder access to the tools that help people take responsibility for their own good health. It doesn’t make sense.”

Among supplements lost by Australians since the TGA legislation:

* Amino acids ­ – many not permitted in tablets/capsules
* Boron ­ – maximum dose allowed 3mg/day. Therapeutic dose is 10mg/day
* Chaparral ­ – minimal amount allowed, not at therapeutic levels
* Comfrey ­ – banned
* Copper chelate ­ – banned except for in grandfather products
* Digestive enzymes ­ – very difficult to get registered
* Gamma Amino Butyric Acid (GABA) ­ – not allowed
* Germanium ­ not allowed
* Indole-3-carbinol (a broccoli extract) ­ not allowed
* Iron bisglycinate ­ – not on list of allowed ingredients
* Kava kava ­ – companies fearful of litigation
* Liver extract – ­ not allowed
* Manganese ascorbate – ­ not allowed
* Melatonin ­ – not allowed
* MSM ­ – not allowed
* N-acetyl-cysteine ­ – not allowed
* Niacin (a B vitamin) ­ – not allowed at higher doses that are needed to reduce cholesterol, heart attacks and strokes
* Selenium amino acid chelate ­ – not allowed at therapeutic doses
* Vanadium ­ – not allowed
* Zinc picolinate ­ – not allowed