CHPNZ News – April 2024

Update from the Chair Abs Saadi

Dear Members,

It has been a busy few months since our last update.

The Pseudoephedrine Bill (PSE) has moved at breakneck speed and Executive Director Scott Milne did an excellent job on behalf of the membership for both written and oral submissions to Parliament’s Health Select Committee.

CHPNZ’s submission supporting the re-entry of PSE into the market as a carefully restricted over the counter medicine was well received. Medsafe is moving at high speed and all parties (suppliers, wholesalers and retailers) need to be ready THIS WINTER for regulation that allows supply.

The Associate Minister of Health (Medsafe and Pharmac) Hon David Seymour is sponsoring the PSE Bill and will be delivering the keynote speech to the CHPNZ Annual General Meeting now confirmed for August 16 2024. The Minister is a big supporter of innovation and is prepared for his team to meet regularly with CHPNZ to workshop initiatives. The fact he is now the first Associate Minister of Health specifically responsible for Medsafe and Pharmac means we can focus our efforts on a tight group of stakeholders to deliver the best possible self-care outcomes for our membership and iwis.

CHPNZ is also looking forward to supporting and working with government on the replacement bill to the Therapeutic Products Act, especially given steps have now been taken to repeal the original legislation only passed late last year. We have reached out to the Associate Minister of Health, Hon Casey Costello and look forward to meeting her on Thursday, April 11. In the meantime, we have begun working on this issue with Medsafe and continuing discussion on further improving process time on submissions.

Medsafe has also asked us to form a small advisory group to help develop new regulation on “Reliance Pathways” to speed up regulation where other countries already have product registered.

The next few months are dedicated to progressing the above initiatives.

Thanks for your support.

Abs Saadi

Chairman, CHPNZ

Pseudoephedrine’s New Zealand Return

The Associate Minister of Health, Hon David Seymour has introduced the PSE Bill to Parliament amending the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 and making changes to the Medicines Regulations 1984 to reclassify pseudoephedrine as a restricted drug.

Available over the counter in most pharmacies overseas, the coalition government had pledged to bring it back into the New Zealand market on election.

Commenting to national media on the pathway to resupply, Scott Milne said that members would work alongside local regulator Medsafe to expedite compliance with soon to be introduced regulation and ensuring the supply of product back into New Zealand.

“With GPs and emergency rooms under pressure, government measures that allow people to look after themselves with safe and effective medicines are most welcome,” Scott Milne said. 

“Retail pharmacy is the best place to purchase restricted medicines such as pseudoephedrine. It needs to be used with the right advice and support, and consultation with a pharmacist is the best way to achieve this.”

With the Select Committee process complete, the Bill will soon be introduced back to the House. Members can read the full CHPNZ submission here.

Briefing the new Associate Minister of Health

Scott Milne said the Minister was enthusiastic about his new portfolio, particularly the clauses in the coalition agreement which require Medsafe to approve new pharmaceuticals “…within 30 days of them being approved by at least two overseas regulatory agencies recognised by New Zealand.”

After reading CHPNZ’s Briefing to the Incoming Minister,  Hon David Seymour invited Scott Milne and Abs Saadi to his Parliamentary Office at the Beehive to meet with him and officials to understand issues and concerns of CHPNZ’s membership.

Read more in our website article here.

Medicines New Zealand and CHPNZ – Building a closer relationship

The Boards of CHPNZ and Medicines New Zealand (MNZ) will soon sign their first Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two peak body groups. This brings together the thinking of those representing both prescription and over the counter medicine manufacturers, exporters and distributors in New Zealand, among other pharmaceutical and medical concerns for both member groups. 

The MOU sends a message of a united front to our wider industry, the media and the government particularly in discussions around safety, availability and risk based legislation. It means both organisations have to be more intentional in communicating intentions, strategies and news which might affect, as above, safety and availability. The government and Medsafe will know that, while each organisation has its primary objective (prescription medicines for MNZ and OTC medicines for CHPNZ), the two organisations will work closely together on all areas affecting medicines supply in New Zealand.

Therapeutics Products Act to be repealed

With the industry still awaiting more information on the repeal to the Therapeutic Products Act 2023 and the content of its likely replacement, CHPNZ has reached out to the Associate Health Minister in charge of the new legislation, Hon Casey Costello. We look forward to meeting with her on Thursday, April 11. As part of the coalition government’s 100-day plan, work on the appeal of the Act has begun. 

Simpson Grierson’s Richard Watts and Sarah Lee recently provided a summary of the repeal decision, which, given the terms of the coalition government’s agreement, was not completely unexpected. They pointed out that the Therapeutic Products Bill has been controversial since it was introduced to Parliament on 30 November 2022 and that NZ First leader, Winston Peters, indicated earlier this year that the party would repeal the Act. 

Read the full article on our website here.

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