Five brands of legal highs from three different companies have been pulled off shelves after some users have reported adverse health effects.
A spike of calls to the National Poinsons Centre lead to the bans, but some people in the industry are calling “foul play” by competitors.
The five brands that have been pulled from shelves are AK47, Anarchy, Karma, Northern Lights Primo and Voodoo.
There are now just 42 products that remain legal to sell under the interim licences.
Suppliers paid $10,000 to register each product, with authorities evaluating calls to the National Poisons Centre and other reports of harm before granting approval.
Some retail and wholesale business owners told us that there is the potential for foul play between competitors and that greed is getting the better of some people.
“There are rumours of some companies trying to stamp out their competitors by calling in false flags to the National Poisons Centre” says one shop owner.
“If anonymous calls can be made to the Poisons Centre without any proof, and products are pulled because of these calls, then the system is clearly flawed.”
Associate Health Minister Todd McClay said consultation on more permanent regulations around legal highs would begin next month.
The world-leading regime will require manufacturers to prove their products are low risk before they can go on sale in the later half of 2014.
In the meantime, products with current interim licences would be closely monitored.
“No other licences can be issued now. There can be no other products or retail outlets allowed until the regulations are in place,” Mr McClay said. “The reason I think the legislation is working is we had an estimated 4000 retail outlets, we’re down to about 150 now. We had more than 200 products, we’re down to only 42 now.”
Temporary licences allowing the sale of the following legal high products have been cancelled after users reported adverse health affects:
* Northern Lights Primo