Protect Our Natural Health Products

November 1, 2009

By johnmac

I hope all of you are coping with all the H1N1 news.  Remember, H1N1 is just another strain of flu and finally, we are even hearing from the media that it is no more virulent or life-threatening than the ‘usual’ seasonal flu.

Stay calm and do what you can to keep your immune system strong.  Please review my October 2009 Tip of the Month (now in the Archive section) for things you can do to boost your immunity naturally.

In addition, I would like to let you know that a homeopathic flu kit is now available at the Vibrant Health Centre (my east end location) for prevention and treatment of the seasonal flu.  The kit strengthens the immune system and offers a safe alternative to the seasonal flu shot as well as treatment for a variety of flu symptoms. Cost of the kit is $25.

Isn’t it great to know that there are alternatives for those of us seeking them?

And staying on the topic of appreciating access to safe alternatives, this month I would like to ask all of you to do your share in protecting your right to have unrestricted access to Natural Health Products.

This access is currently at risk.  If you are not aware of this issue or wish to learn more about it, I strongly urge you to visit the following web-site:

This website has been created by the Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA).  For your convenience, I have summarized some of the information found on this website below:

In 1998, after extensive consultations with consumers and the Natural Health Products (NHPs) industry, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health produced a report entitled: Natural Health Products: A Shared Vision. The report included 53 recommendations and stated that NHPs were neither food nor drugs and warranted a separate regulatory framework. The then federal Minister of Health, the Hon. Alan Rock, approved all 53 recommendations and the development of new Natural Health Product Regulations.

In 2004, Health Canada implemented new Natural Health Product Regulations which were intended to ensure Canadians have access and choice to a wide variety of high quality, safe and effective Natural Health Products.  These regulations meant that NHPs are required to get a product ‘license’ before being sold in Canada and that NHPs have to be made in accordance with Good Manufacturing Practices.   Sounds reasonable, right? The truth of the matter is that of the 41,000 license applications that have been submitted since then, only about 1/3 have received approval, while the remaining 2/3 have either been rejected or stuck in a backlog for the last 5 years and may never get approval. Unfortunately, the Natural Health Product industry currently faces regulatory constraints that are not reasonable and not consistent with the 53 recommendations of the Standing Committee.  Some experts predict that by the end of Health Canada’s new enforcement strategy, which is supposed to take effect April 2010, over 50% of our country’s natural health products industry will be eliminated.

Your right as a Canadian consumer to choose from the best possible variety of high quality, safe and effective health care products is being threatened and the only way you can protect this right is to take some action!

There are currently over 50,000 Natural Health products available in Canada.  These include numerous products which I know many of you are taking on a regular basis to improve and maintain your health, such as:

  • Vitamins and Minerals
  • Herbs, Homeopathic and Traditional Chinese Medicines
  • Probiotics
  • Fish oils
  • Other supplements such as chondroitin and glucosamine

I trust that all of you want to preserve your right to continue making informed decisions regarding what natural health products you wish to use and to be able to access them freely.  If so, it is up to you to take action. The CHFA has made it easy for us to get involved by carrying out a few simple steps:

  1. Go to:
  2. Select English or French
  3. Read all about the issues listed down the right hand side of the page should you wish to learn more
  4. Scroll down to the bottom of any page within this website and click on the second and third boxes entitled:  “Send a message to your political leaders!” and “Other things you can do”.

I urge all of you to take a little time to do this so that together we can make a big difference.  Even if you have signed other petitions related to this issue, take this action as well.  The more messages we send, the better.




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