Commitments made in the 2014 Australian Government budget to continue support for therapeutic product regulatory harmonisation between Australia and New Zealand have been welcomed by the Australian Dental Industry Association (ADIA), the peak business organisation representing manufacturers and suppliers of quality dental products.
"This is great news for not only the dental industry, but also patients in both countries as regulatory harmonisation reduces costs to business which invariably leads to more affordable healthcare," said Troy Williams, ADIA Chief Executive Officer.
In its pre-budget submission, ADIA had recommended to the Australian Government that funding be provided to support Australia - New Zealand therapeutic product regulatory harmonisation. ADIA had subsequently argued for this strongly at a departmental and parliamentary level.
"The government has accepted the view of ADIA that reform in this area is necessary for businesses across the dental industry to grow, create jobs and operate sustainably," Mr Williams said.
The budget papers signal an unannounced but widely expected shift in policy focus. The focus has moved from the proposed creation of a joint Australia New Zealand Therapeutic Products Agency (ANZTPA), to each country retaining its own independent regulator but continuing their engagement with each other insofar as pre-market and post-market regulatory activities are concerned.
"ANZTPA was a noble objective but the concept of a joint regulator seems to have stalled given the many legal, operational and policy issues that were insurmountable. However, if Australia and New Zealand's regulatory systems are underpinned by a common set of principles and strong alignment of premarket scrutiny and post-market surveillance processes, then that makes for a good news outcome for the dental industry," Mr Williams said.