Health Canada is proposing changes that may limit your access to vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and traditional medicines (Natural Health Products).
Presently, because they are derived from nature, natural health products are considered low risk and therefore for regulatory purposes are treated as a separate category from drugs. Before a natural health product can be made available for sale, the manufacturer must obtain a health product number which is only granted after rigorous standards are met. This process has been in place for over ten years and has worked well for both the industry and the regulatory authorities.
But, as a result of lobbying efforts of the large pharmaceutical companies, Health Canada officials are proposing changes to this regulatory system. If these drastic changes are allowed to become regulations, the impact on the products you trust and rely on to maintain good health will be huge. The companies that produce the health products will face massive cost increases in providing the drug-level evidence required. These products might not be available during this testing and regulatory process, and as a result will be more expensive when they return. Many manufacturers will not be able to afford the tests and will simply disappear forever along with their products. That includes products like your favourite natural vitamins and supplements, minerals, and probiotics. This change will also hamper innovation and the development of new products, as the costs to get the products to market will be too excessive.
If you want to maintain the right to be responsible for your own health and if you choose natural health products as part of your healthy lifestyle, and think this proposal is unreasonable, please take one minute to tell your local MP how you feel.
If you think Health Canada’s proposal is unreasonable, speak up!