Work is progressing slowly on the draft Therapeutic Products Bill, with the Ministry of Health (MoH) blaming Covid-19 for the delays.
The bill will replace The Medicines Act 1981, which is dated, inflexible, hard to use and has significant gaps in coverage, said the MoH in its consultation document when the bill was submitted more than two years ago. The purpose of the new bill is to provide a modern regulatory scheme to ensure the safety, quality and efficacy of therapeutic products (medicines, including cell and tissue products and medical devices). Concerns, however, were raised by the eye-health community that the bill may result in an unintended step back for New Zealand optometrists’ hard-won rights to prescribe eye-related therapeutics, with the ministry receiving 442 submissions to that effect following consultation in early 2019.
Commenting on those submissions, an MoH spokesperson said they will inform ongoing work on the bill which is still very much in development. There will also be further opportunities for input once the bill is moved into the select committee stage, they said, the date for which is still to be determined.