Enjoying your Natural Health Products?...Not For Long!

             “So despite the fact that Canada has the best natural health product (NHP) regulations in the world, despite mandatory testing for purity and potency, despite Health Canada's repository of NHP monographs which represents one of the biggest bodies of knowledge regarding NHPs on the planet....according to Health Canada WE NEED FURTHER REGULATION!”


Two Important Issues

When people want to know what's going on with NHP's and "Health" Canada, (a bigger misnomer than you could ever imagine), they need to know that there are two main issues:

  1. The legislation that Health Canada (HC) underhandedly slipped through in Bill C-47, this year's budget bill, where they have now applied all the same penalties to NHPs as pharmaceuticals [see last week's article: What Is Health Canada Doing To Natural Health Products...Again??!!]
  2. The cost recovery measures Health Canada is now proposing, which include:
    •  $58,332 just for the application of an innovative new combination of natural ingredients, (i.e. class 3 novel application for a license), This will absolutely shut down innovation…and HC knows this
    • $542 a year simply to keep any license active
    • Administrative penalties for any deviation from the strict rules.

Once they have collected such revenues, roving like Orks through our health food stores, you can expect an army of HC inspectors to levy as many of these penalties as they can.

And if a manufacturer doesn't immediately heed a demand to recall a product, with which an uninformed inspector has found a problem, maximum penalties are $5-million-dollars-a DAY!

New Labelling Requirements for "Clarity"

Add to this the most comprehensive, idiotic labeling requirements you could imagine! But let's be accurate...they are calculated, not idiotic.

Customers of health food stores likely are familiar with peel-back labels that are annoying to open, which are used because of HC's excessive labelling requirements. Well, those bi-folds are about to become tri-folds, or alternatively all products will need a box with a paper insert. Not only is this blatantly unnecessary, it is absolutely non-environmental, which our current government claims to care so much about.

Health Canada "claims" this massive labeling requirement is to increase clarity for the consumer. So let's consider a current example of such a piece of information that is, of course, to provide clarity for the consumer. 

How many of you who are reading this article know what "1-Carboxy-N,N,N-trimethylmethanaminium chloride" is?

Anybody? Anybody??

Some of you with digestive issues may know it as betaine-HCl, a stomach acid supplement for those who don't produce enough. But Health Canada wants manufacturers to list it as 1-Carboxy-N,N,N-trimethylmethanaminium chloride, the scientific designation... to increase consumer clarity.

Could it be any more transparent what is actually going on, which is to confuse and frighten the consumer with bizarre terms they don't recognize?

All to keep us safe and healthy, of course!

What's the actual point of the upcoming cost increases? To over-regulate, eliminate products and drive up prices higher than they are now, thereby reducing accessibility. 

Canadian NHPs are Currently Well-Regulated... and Expensive

When a person from the United States moves here, a very common comment is, "Holy, are vitamins ever expensive here." To which the accurate reply is "Well that's what we paid to provide consumer assurance through regulation, and the associated cost of compliance."

Well, you think our prices are high now? Just wait until Health Canada's cost recovery initiatives kick-in. As they say, "You ain't seen nothin yet" 

How Health Canada "Protects" Canadians

In 1996 an MD named Michele Bill-Edwards, who was Head of Drug Approval at Health Canada (HC), was demoted for speaking out about the Agency's approval of a heart drug called Nifedipine. She then resigned so she could blow the whistle. In a CBC - The Fifth Estate episode called "The Heart of the Matter", Brill-Edwards estimated that as many as 10,000 premature deaths could have been caused by the drug, and that was in 1996! Nifedipine is still on the market, so how many additional deaths have been caused almost three decades later? 

In interviews, Brill-Edwards also brought up an extremely salient point, and that is that the root problem with Health Canada is that the Agency is allowed to enforce the same policies that it creates. Think about that for a second.

A Blatant Conflict of Interest

Policy creation should be kept separate from enforcement to reduce chances of vested interests exerting "undue influence" on either the policy makers, or the enforcers, Aka: corruption. At times our enforcement agencies, like our police forces fall prey to such influence. And certainly we know that policy makers, i.e. politicians, are subject to inappropriate influence and corruption. 

Now consider that HC is responsible for both of these functions, while supposedly "regulating" the most powerful industry on the planet, i.e. the pharmaceutical industry. Further, it is a generally accepted fact that the first and primary goal for pharmaceutical companies is profit, and they will do whatever they need to do to achieve it. In this regard, few would argue they can be ruthless. 

Hence, what do you think is going to happen? Corruption! Profit over safety! Drugs approved that shouldn't be approved, or recalls that happen after thousands die! 

Remember Vioxx? The estimation at the time was that it caused up to 55,000 deaths before being recalled. 

Do you you really believe the pharmaceutical industry doesn't "unduly influence" policy makers at Health Canada? Is HC regulating Pharma, or the other way around?

In the Pocket of Big Pharma

As has been written before:

“The pharmaceutical industry doesn't just break the law...they make the law... using intense lobbying, pulling strings deep within the bureaucracy, and exerting financial influence on the media with advertising revenue, and academia by funding research, all of whom then come out with slanted explanations of the situation, quoting medical and academic professionals who know little to nothing about natural products, to justify the new regulatory order.”

As Brill-Edwards recounted, she heard one senior Health Canada official say to his staff, "We know who our real clients are." 

Five whistle-blowers from within the agency have come forward with reports of corruption, and unsafe drugs being approved. As covered in Part 1 of this article, one of them, Dr. Shiv Chopra, wrote a book about it called Corrupt to the Core.

And, in case you say, "well that was a long time ago", make no mistake, such bureaucrats can be entrenched in their positions for decades. (The MPs are like the tide...they come and go. The bureaucrats are the beach.)

Presently, as evidence continues to pile-up that Natural Health Products (NHPs) can be helpful for an absolute myriad of health challenges, do you really think that the pharmaceutical industry has any intentions of competing with the natural industry?

Eliminating the Competition

Not a chance! They simply lobby the daylights out of the government to have the NHP industry over-regulated to death by subservient Health Canada officials...who are only too happy to do their bidding, because this is how they get promoted and win favour in their job.

Paraphrasing Brill-Edwards, the two groups share a revolving door of employees. It is completely common to see someone working for Health Canada one month, only to be employed by a pharmaceutical company the next. And, according to Brill-Edwards what happens if an employee won't "play ball"?.... demotion or lost professional opportunities quickly follow.

So despite the fact that Canada has the best NHP regulations in the world, despite mandatory testing for purity and potency, despite HC's repository of NHP monographs which represents one of the biggest bodies of knowledge regarding NHPs on the planet....according to Health Canada WE NEED FURTHER REGULATIONS!

This must be the most ludicrous, see-through, deceitful, unscrupulous and amoral bureaucratic move in Canadian history!

We must act now!



Citizens for Choice in Healthcare

Written by Anonymous

Shared with Permission



 NHP Letter to send to MPs

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