Health Canada is proposing changes to the existing Natural Health Product Regulations that may cause some natural products to disappear forever, including many vitamins, probiotics, herbal remedies and traditional medicines. The proposed changes could also lead to increased cost of the products that are left and reduce the amount of information available to Canadians about these products.
Health Canada is now proposing a framework that could significantly alter the way that NHPs are currently regulated under the existing NHP Regulations and instead wants to regulate some NHPs using the same rules as drugs based, it appears, on a single consumer survey and six weeks of consultation.
The proposal suggests that Health Canada will no longer review some of the products and these ones will be required to have a disclaimer in line with ‘Health Canada has not reviewed’. Additionally, claims based on previously accepted evidence may no longer be allowed and would be removed from the label. This will limit the amount of information the consumer receives about the product.
The proposal, says the CHFA, is trying to fix a system that is not broken and will be a step backward instead of forward. The current regulations take into account the unique properties and low-risk nature of these products, ensuring access to NHPs that are safe, effective and of high quality, while respecting freedom of choice, and the philosophical and cultural diversity of our country. The Association is asking retailers to write a letter to their member of parliament to oppose the changes.
Changing the way NHPs are regulated will have an impact on the products you will find on store shelves. Providing the evidence required for drugs is vastly expensive, which is why the prices for drugs are significantly higher compared to NHPs. Requiring the same level of evidence as a drug, will result in price increases and loss of product from the retail level.