Read to the end for ways that YOU can help protect the natural health industry.
I believe that our health freedom – that is, our right to access the treatments and remedies of our choice – is incredibly important. To me, this is a key aspect of my Canadian identity – and these rights are currently at risk.
There is much to discuss relating to the impending updates to the Natural Health Product (NHP) Regulations set forth by Health Canada, but I’ve purposefully kept this post as short and to-the-point as possible to help ensure we all truly understand the most important parts.
If you would like to read a thorough discussion of the upcoming NHP Regulations, please download your copy of constitutional lawyer, Shawn Buckley’s recent Discussion Paper.
What does Health Canada want to change?
Although there has never been a death in Canada related to the use of Natural Health Products, Health Canada is seeking to increase regulation of NHPs. In short, Health Canada has proposed to lump together non-prescription chemical drugs and Natural Health Products under a single “self-care product” regulatory category.
Even the safest over-the-counter drugs carry considerably higher risk than NHPs. For example, acetaminophen (found in Tylenol and other cold, flu and pain remedies), causes an estimated 33 deaths per year in Canada.
Given the marked difference in risk, it makes good sense to continue regulating these categories of products separately, with heftier requirements for the chemical drugs.
Why is Health Canada spending money, energy, and public resources to further regulate products that are designed to promote better health, prevent disease, and have shown to be of such low risk to Canadians?
Is this how you want your tax dollars spent?
What were the consequences of our current NHP Regulations?
Our current NHP Regulations are quite onerous, much more so than the free market in the United States, for example.
I covered the History of NHP Regulations in more detail on last week’s blog, but it’s critical to understand that the implementation of our current NHP Regulations resulted in consequences for Canadians. The effects of our current NHP Regulations included:
- Loss of international products – mainly American and European companies stopped selling into Canada
- Increased cost – making Natural Health Products inaccessible for many middle-class and low income folks
- Loss of innovation – due to the high cost of licensing we’ve seen less innovation and lower potency products reach the market
- Vague label claims – to a layperson, it’s difficult to understand the true effects of many NHPs because the accepted label claims are so broad, eg. “for the maintenance of good health”
What will happen if Health Canada’s proposed new NHP Regulations come into effect?
The NHPPA (Natural Health Products Protection Association) has had very accurate predictions for the effects of proposed NHP Regulations several times in the past. They believe the following to be likely consequences of the proposed changes to NHP Regulations:
- The types of scientific evidence available to Canadians will be limited
- Forced recalls without Court supervision will be possible
- Fines for non-compliance (even to an unfounded recall) will result in a fine of up to $5,000,000 per day
- Fines will be applicable to individual employees, practitioners, and managers; not just business owners
- Cost recovery measures (Health Canada fines) may be implemented to recoup costs of this expensive program, driving NHP manufacturers out of the market and further increasing the cost to consumers
- Further cost increases for NHPs, making them even less accessible to Canadians
- Increased risk exposure to Canadians due to lower risk NHPs being less readily available, forcing many to higher risk pharmaceuticals as their treatment
What’s Health Canada’s Timeline?
Health Canada has announced they intend to role out their proposed regulatory changes beginning this Fall. To prevent these changes from coming into effect, it will require sustained action by members of the Canadian public – that’s you!
If you believe the best person to make your health care decisions is you – NOW is your time to take action to protect your rights and freedoms!
We’re asking you to do three things:
- Review the Charter of Health Freedom that would enact into law Canadians’ right to sovereignty and freedom of choice in healthcare.
- Sign the petition asking our House of Commons to enact the Charter.
- You can sign the petition in-store at Healthoholics.
- You can download and print a paper copy of the petition here.
- Donate to the Natural Health Products Protection Association (NHPPA), who is a federal non-profit that we believe is doing important work to represent the belief in health freedom held by a majority of Canadians.
- You can contact NHPPA directly to donate one-time, or on an ongoing monthly basis.
- You can donate by completing a donation form in-store at Healthoholics.