‘May contain traces of nuts.’

You see these words regularly on food packaging, and something similar could soon be on your medicine.

Medsafe has opened a public consultation on plans to introduce new labelling requirements for non-active substances in medicines (exipients) which may cause a bad reaction, like an allergy.

Unlike foods, most medicines and related products are not required to list all the ingredients included in the medicine on the package label. Now Medsafe is asking for people’s opinions on proposed changes to package labelling requirements.

Medsafe’s Group Manager Chris James says changes to labelling is a really important step to ensure medicines are as safe as possible for all users.

“The consultation is asking members of the public, healthcare professionals, consumer groups and industry whether a number of different substances should be included on medicine labels.”

“Some of those substances include egg and egg products, gluten, soya beans and soya bean products, tree nuts and pollen. There are a number of other substances listed in the consultation too,” says Mr James.

“The Medicines Regulations 1984 already requires medicines and other related products to include any warning statements required by Medsafe, either on the medicine package or on an information sheet for patients.”

“People can already use Medsafe’s Product/Application search to check the ingredients in their medicine.”

“Now we are proposing to expand the list of warning statements to include some non-active substances that may cause a reaction or an allergy in some people.”

“While we want to make medicines as safe as possible, it’s really important to us to factor in everyone’s views….that’s where this consultation comes in.”

The consultation will be open for 6 weeks on the Ministry of Health’s Consultation Hub.

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