Natural Health Products in Canada

The Natural Health Products Protection Association (NHPPA) is federally incorporated as a non-profit company with the sole objective of protecting access to Natural Health Products and Dietary Supplements. Health Canada has published and is looking to move forward with a time-table which dramatically changes the way in which Natural Health Products will be regulated for the public and Natural Health Practitioners. Essentially, this would mean that Natural Health Products would be treated the same way as chemical drugs are in the Food and Drugs Act.

To combat this, the NHPPA has a 3-step plan of action for stopping Health Canada’s changes to the NHP product regulation. Firstly, stopping Health Canada’s proposed plan to regulate natural health products as “Self-Care Products” under the same set of regulations as chemical nonprescription drugs. Secondly, to add the definition of Natural Health Product to the Food and Drugs Act. Lastly, to adopt the Charter of Health Freedom as Law. Categorizing Natural Health Products under self-care products such as drugs is clearly unwarranted because of their obvious differences and Canadians have been fighting against this regulation for the last 20 years. Freedom of choice on how we choose to manage and prevent disease within our bodies is our right. Adding a definition of a Natural Health Product in the Food and Drugs Act is extremely necessary in this approach. With this impending regulation the consumer will be affected in multiple ways, such as having little to no information on labels, censorship of scientific evidence of therapeutic usage and success, and no information on the efficacy and quality of the specific product.

The Charter of Health Freedom is a piece of proposed legislation that protects your constitutional rights by giving natural health products and traditional medicines their own Act. The Charter would protect access to NHPs and traditional medicines by creating a separate legal category for them that is neither foods nor drugs. Instead of being treated as dangerous drugs under the Food and Drugs Act, the Charter would deem NHPs and traditional medicines to be safe unless there is evidence of harm. The Charter of Health Freedom enables the definition and regulation of NHPs as a true third category with foods and drugs, a move that Canadians have specifically demanded of their government. The Charter reaffirms in law the long-standing relationship citizens of our great nation have enjoyed with the government as a servant, rather than a master in our affairs.

As Canadians have increasingly incorporated alternative approaches to their health, their practitioners will be greatly affected by this proposal. Naturopathic doctors, Traditional Chinese medicine doctors, Ayurvedic doctors, Nutritionists and Herbalists have become integral parts of keeping our citizens in good health using holistic approaches. This regulation serves to strip away jobs from these hard working Natural Health Practitioners and Canadian citizens. As censorship is enforced, increased fines and administrative penalties will be issued for telling the truth. By imposing the same Good Manufacturing Practices used by Chemical Drug companies to Natural Health Product companies there is a further increase of costs on the NHP community as a whole. Access to NHP’s will be reduced due the costly model of manufacturing drugs in turn causing prices to increase. Accessibility will further decrease to many Canadians as low-income families and citizens can no longer reason their natural health products as affordable. Small and medium manufacturers will go out of business reducing competition and access to innovative products.

This regulation affects all of us. Visit the NHPPA website and take action today on how to protect access to Natural Health Products.

The Green Party of Canada recognizes the value of good health as a fundamental human right, and also the key to the most vibrant, inclusive, and sustainable Canadian society possible. Greens want to move Canada towards being the world’s healthiest country by making improved and sustainable health for all a national priority. I advocate for increasing wellness promotion & prevention services; see our platform on the Social Contract for Health Care.
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