New Zealand. The Ministry of Health has classified melatonin as a prescription medicine since there is insufficient information available about its efficacy, safety and manufacturing quality and because it is defined as a medicine in that it alters a physiological function and therapeutic purposes have been claimed. It is contained in a number of products claiming to cure insomnia, overcome jet-lag, delay aging, prolong sexual vitality and benefit sufferers of chronic disease such as cancer.
No marketing application for a product containing melatonin has been evaluated by the Ministry of Health and no melatonin product has marketing approval, therefore doctors wishing to prescribe melatonin will have to request it from a company licensed to supply medicines or import it directly.
Reference: Prescriber Update No. 15, August 1997, Therapeutics Section, Ministry of Health, Wellington.