16 July, 2007
Therapeutics Products and Medicines Bill on hold
The Government is not proceeding at this stage with legislation that would have enabled the establishment of a joint agency with Australia to regulate therapeutic products, State Services Minister Annette King announced today.
Ms King says the Therapeutics Products and Medicines Bill has been postponed, but will remain on the Order Paper to be revisited when sufficient parliamentary support is available.
“The Agreement between Australia and New Zealand also remains in place, and can be ratified in the future following the passage of legislation.
“The Government does not have the numbers in Parliament to put in place a sensible, acceptable compromise that would satisfy all parties at this time. The Australian Government has been informed of the situation and agrees that suspending negotiations on the joint authority is a sensible course of action.
“While many people will be disappointed we have not found a satisfactory way forward for this important legislation, it is not always possible in an MMP Parliament to obtain enough votes.”
Ms King says the Government still strongly supports the vision of a joint trans-Tasman therapeutics authority because of the benefits to New Zealand, including greater consumer protection, enhanced innovation, making products available in a more timely way, and economies of scale in regulation.
“Our vision has been for a world-class regulatory system that reflects the special nature of our relationship with Australia.
“Sadly, despite all the painstaking work done by officials on both sides of the Tasman, this important initiative cannot be advanced at this stage, but I am pleased Australia shares our commitment to a world-class scheme, and is open to resuming negotiations when the opportunity arises.”
Health Minister Pete Hodgson says: “We will now consider the next steps, and announce them in due course. It is fair to say, however, that New Zealanders, and indeed the select committee, are aware that the status quo of an unregulated market for medical devices and complementary medicines cannot remain.”