Sunscreen law cover until Therapeutics Bill rises

New Zealand’s Sunscreen (Product Safety Standard) Bill was enacted on March 8, 2022.

Part of it gives retailers 18 months to sell through existing stock before the joint Australia/New Zealand 2604 Standard becomes mandatory this side of the Tasman.

None of the legislation comes as a surprise to CHPNZ, being a supporter of the New Zealand Suncare Initiative and across the Bill during its readings.

Lyndal O’Toole, Initiative spokesperson and Cosmetics NZ General Manager, told New Zealanders in the New Zealand Herald on March 3, most of New Zealand’s major sunscreen brands are sold in both markets so they already meet this joint standard, enforced in Australia by the Therapeutic Goods Administration. 

However, what should interest CHPNZ members are the signals in the  third reading of the Bill on March 2 .

MP Todd Muller, who introduced the Bill to Parliament, said “that despite some of the sector’s positioning and potentially even protestation around the need or otherwise for this bill, there is an acknowledgment that frankly, there still is too much in this New Zealand supply chain of product that doesn’t actually meet the joint standard with Australia.”

Muller said the legislation ”takes the joint Australian/New Zealand Sunscreen Standard and it lists that standard as a deemed product safety standard under the Fair Trading Act, which then triggers the Fair Trading Act regime, including the Commerce Commission, potential prosecution and exposure to $600,000 corporate fine if you are found to have been misleading consumers with the claims about your product not matching the reality for people who use it”.

While the Bill referenced the 2012 standard, Muller told the House an updated 2021 standard is coming down the track and the law would be adjusted.

National’s Dr Shane Reti  commented on the 36 submissions on the Bill to the Select Committee process: “I thought there were particularly interesting parts segueing into what therapeutic products may eventually become with discussions around natural products, alternative products, and this indeed sitting as a cosmetic. 

“I think part of that discovery has exposed other parts of the process.

“If we look at where this bill is working, it’s working at performance standards and product claims. It was interesting to note that the manufacturing component currently has no statutory legislation, and so that may well be covered in the therapeutic products bill, be that good manufacturing practice or whatever manufacturing standard is determined.” 

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