29 Sep 2009

Drench formula case goes to Supreme Court

6:03 am on 29 September 2009

The agrichemical industry is keeping a close watch on a long-running case involving a drench formula that has reached the Supreme Court.

The court will be asked to rule on whether the Environmental Risk Management Authority is legally required to make public the composition and active ingredients of the products that it assesses under the Hazardous Substances & New Organisms Act.

The case stems from an application by Ancare New Zealand to release a new pour-on drench, used to control parasites in livestock.

Another company that produces drenches, Wyeth, asked for the details of the chemical formula, which it said it needed to make submissions on the application.

The case has been through the High Court, and then the Court of Appeal, which backed a decision by ERMA to keep the details of the product's chemical composition confidential.

In the latest development, Wyeth has been granted leave to take an appeal on that ruling to the highest legal authority, the Supreme Court.

Protection of intellectual property

The agrichemical and animal health industry body, AGCARM, says there's intense interest in the outcome of the case because it's about the protection of intellectual property.

Chief executive Graeme Peters says the industry generally supports the Court of Appeal outcome that confidential information provided to ERMA should be kept under wraps, especially while it's considering applications.