NZ Coroners Report on Complementary Medicines

"Despite extensive research, coroner Dr Wallace Bain found no deaths have
occurred in New Zealand due to natural medicines such as vitamins, minerals
and herbal products."

Dear Health Freedom Advocate,


Dr Wallace Bain, Acting Chair of the Coroners' Council, has just released
this report into deaths caused by natural health medicines in New Zealand.

He highlights the information in light of the push by the New Zealand
government for greater control over natural medicines by way of legislation
to create the Australia New Zealand Therapeutics Products Authority (ANZTPA).

Natural medicines - the safest way to avoid death

A report just released by the Acting Chair of the Coroner's Council has
shown natural medicines have the lowest fatality rate of all medical
treatments in New Zealand.

Despite extensive research, coroner Dr Wallace Bain found no deaths have
occurred in New Zealand due to natural medicines such as vitamins, minerals
and herbal products.

Dr Bain, who is also a trained pharmacist and lawyer, undertook the study
in light of growing opposition to new legislation that will see New
Zealand's natural health industry come under Australian laws.

The safety of natural products is often sited as a reason for the need for
such a move.

The Labour government plans that the Australia New Zealand Therapeutic
Products Authority (ANZTPA) will soon replace the current Medsafe agency as
part of a `trans-Tasman harmonisation' push. Opponents fear this move will
decimate New Zealand's natural health industry as has already occurred in

At present lack of support from New Zealand First, the Maori and Green
parties is the only thing stopping the legislation coming into effect.

Says Dr Bain: "In my capacity as Acting Chair of the Coroner's Council, I
enquired of all Coroners as to whether or not from a search of their
Coronial findings they could find any instances where there had been a
problem with any of these natural products.

"They were asked to provide any information from inquests where these
products had been involved whether or not a death had resulted. At the same
time the Coronial records held by the Ministry of Justice in Wellington
were searched at my request by ministry staff."

Dr Bain's study returned a finding of zero deaths from natural remedies.

His only findings were:

* A three-year-old child who choked to death on a vitamin tablet in 2003
that was too large for the child to swallow

* A woman who terminated her third pregnancy after a scan showed the foetus
had spina bifida. The woman had been taking 300mg of folic acid a day
rather than the recommended 800mg per day

* A man who died from non-viral hepatitis of unknown origin who also had a
pre-existing prostrate cancer condition. The man had been taking an Indian
herbal product K4. The Corner's report said despite no certainty of a link
with the herbal product, the remedy such be banned until more was known
about its effects on liver toxicity

* Some ongoing inquests into party pills

In contrast, deaths in 1998 (the last year of detailed official statistics
available) caused by adverse reactions to pharmaceutical drugs killed 1524
New Zealanders and deaths associated with medical injury (mistakes by
doctors and medical staff) killed 4222 New Zealanders.

Says Dr Bain: "A recent Australian study shows that 1 in 10 patients
presenting to a general practitioner had an adverse pharmaceutical drug
event in the preceding six months with 50% of those being in the moderate
to severe range and 8% requiring hospitalisation.

"A New Zealand study reported in July of 2006 and referred to Parliament's
Health Committee pointed to previous research suggesting problems such as
hospital acquired infection, drug error and staff mistakes are costing this
country around $870 million a year. This prompted the Health Minister to
ensure that District Health Boards gave priority to reducing such adverse
events - most clearly identified as being drug induced."

Also in Dr Bain's report is mention of a US study that puts complications
resulting from medication errors in American hospitals at $US1.5 billion
dollars per year. Studies also show that prescription drug errors double a
person's risk of dying in hospital. Another study put the cost of a single
adverse drug event to a hospital in the US at $US2,500.

"The estimate of costs incurred by US hospitals as a result of drug-related
injury or death was put at $US76.6 billion which was three times the cost
of all diabetes care in the United States," says Dr Bain.

"What is ironic here is that what is being held out as a justification for
high regulation and compliance in the area of complementary medicines and
natural products in New Zealand is public safety and risk. Despite a
diligent search of Coronial records and the literature, no instances have
been found to demonstrate that in fact these products have any serious
public health issue or risk.

"The problem is clearly with prescription and other drugs," says Dr Bain.
"The Coronial and literature searches in so far as natural products are
concerned and linkages to public safety and risk can be described legally
as De minimis no curat lex. That is - of minimal risk importance.

"The law does not and should not concern itself with such trifles."

Dr Bain's report has been sent to Annette King.


Dr Bain is available for comment directly on 021 750 704 or via me,
Kimberley Paterson on 09 4244218

or 0273 454570. You can also contact Dr Bain directly on 021 750 704

If you need more information, please contact me

Kind regards

Kimberley Paterson
09 4244218



Michael Bending
Alliance for Health Freedom Australia
'All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing'
- Edmund Burke (1729-1797), Irish born writer and politician -