Health benefits and product claims

Health Benefits

The Natural Health and Supplementary Products Bill will allow health benefits to be claimed for products as long as such claims are supported by appropriate evidence. The regulatory focus will be on claims in support of named conditions rather than non-specific claims.

The Bill defines a health benefit as any one of the following:

  • the maintenance or promotion of health or wellness
  • nutritional support
  • vitamin or mineral supplementation
  • affecting or maintaining the structure or function of the body
  • relief of symptoms.

The Bill will allow product notifiers to make health benefit claims for their products, provided there is evidence to support the claim.The Bill establishes two kinds of supporting evidence: traditional evidence (which is defined as evidence of traditional use), or scientific evidence and must conform to the requirements of legislation or regulations.The notifier will need to supply evidence that directly supports the product’s claims.There will also be controls around health benefit and other claims that can be made in advertising and on labels. 

List of named conditions

Claims relating to particular conditions may only be made if the Authority has previously given notice that such a claim is permitted. The Authority will publish a list of named conditions, taken from the International Classification of Diseases, developed by the World Health Organization. The list of named conditions will be comprised of those diseases and conditions the Authority considers to be appropriate for self-management.

When a product notifier wishes to make a claim related to relief of symptoms of a named condition that is on the list of named conditions the product may be notified as normal. As with any claim, the notifier must provide a summary of the supporting evidence at the time of notification, and the full evidence must be presented on request.

For example, the condition ‘common cold’ is on the list of named conditions. That means a product would be able to be notified, including a claim to relieve symptoms associated with colds. A summary of the supporting evidence will need to be made available via a website, and the link included in the notification.  The product label would be able to include the claim:

“Product ‘Cold Relief’ is helpful in the relief of symptoms associated with the common cold”

Notifiers wanting to make a claim relating to a particular condition that is not included on the Authority’s list of named conditions will need to apply to the Authority to decide whether the claim will be permitted.  They will be unable to make the claim until their application has been approved. The Ministry will be consulting  on the list of conditions, and is keen for your input.

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