New Zealand is the second country in the world to ban surgical mesh as a treatment for pelvic organ prolapse.
Mesh Down Under spokesperson Carmel Berry welcomed the announcement by the Minister of Health today. “This is exactly what we have been asking them to do. We provided evidence to the Health Select Committee back in 2014 and 2015 to justify invocation of section 38 of the Medicines Act for these devices”.
Regulatory body Medsafe has quickly followed in the footsteps of Australia and the move will see surgical mesh removed from supply and its use limited. According to a Medsafe press release Medsafe has contacted suppliers in New Zealand and most of them have already indicated they will be taking the same steps here to limit supply, as they are in Australia.
“There’s still a long way to go though. The government needs to learn from this experience and put in checks and balances to ensure new medical devices are safe before they can be sold in New Zealand. If this requires a law change – it should be given high priority by the lawmakers,” Berry told MiNDFOOD.
“We have asked for a central database or registry of all mesh implants to be created. If a registry were to have been created back in 2014 when we asked for it, it may not have taken so long for Medsafe to be convinced that surgical mesh for POP and SUI is problematic. We want the creation of a new registry of all mesh implants (including hernia mesh devices) to go ahead as a post-market surveillance programme of national importance.
“We also need to go back now and retrospectively study how this global health scandal was allowed to happen. The ministry needs to identify the people affected and their treatment and compensation pathways moving forward.
Gynaecologist Hanifa Koya said that there would still need to be an enquiry into the use of surgical mesh for other treatments, such as hernia repair, pelvic and vaginal wall reconstructions. “I would like to see every kind of mesh regulated,” Dr Koya said.
The new requirements will come into place on January 4, 2018.