Health Canada (HC) recently achieved what I'm sure they consider to be a great coup on Natural Health Products (NHPs), which is to categorize NHP's under the same umbrella as pharmaceutical drugs....and they slipped it through at the very end of this year's budget, Bill C-47 (clauses 500-504).
I say "coup" because they've been attempting this for so long...since 1997!
Now Canadian NHPs companies and their principles are subject to the same $5 million-a-day penalties as pharmaceutical companies for lack of compliance, no matter how ridiculous, expensive or unjustified HC's demands may be.
"Our Foods are Not Drugs!"
It was 1997 when Canadians first erupted in protest when HC, and Health Minister Allan Rock tried to classify dietary supplements the same as pharmaceutical drugs. There was a massive protest labeled "Our Foods Are Not Drugs". At the time, it was the largest in history.
Not Health Canada's Jurisdiction
Luckily, behind the scenes there was also a lawsuit launched asserting that natural health supplements were out of Health Canada's legal jurisdiction for two reasons:
- No Canadian have ever died from natural supplements - therefore they don't pose enough of a risk to justify being under HC's purview, and
- The area of "Health" is a provincial jurisdiction, hence why we have provincial healthcare systems.
The lawsuit stopped the government in its tracks, and literally overnight the Health Minister wanted to "play nice", i.e. HC became extremely conciliatory, because they knew they were going to lose.
With HC grovelling, unfortunately the individuals behind the lawsuit were persuaded not to continue.
Next, an Expert Advisory Committee was set up, with genuine experts in natural health, and after years of coast-to-coast meetings with Canadians, spending countless millions of taxpayer's money, the government's Standing Committee On Health came out with a list of 53 official recommendations on how the issue should be handled. Number One was that the Food & Drugs Act should be rewritten to provide NHPs with their own class, different and separate from either Foods or Drugs.
Hence, the Food & Drugs Act would have become the Food Drugs & Natural Products Act
But Health Canada "pulled a fast-one".
They claimed it would take too long to rewrite the F&D Act, even though they still had full intentions of doing so, (eye-roll...uh huh, yeah Right!). And instead of giving Natural Health Products a truly distinct class, they placed them as a subclass under "DRUGS", albeit with their own set of regulations.
Keeping NHPs as a subclass of "DRUGS" meant that HC could apply many more of the exact same standards to NHPs. Critics at the time knew this was a trap. A slippery slope where HC would boil the frog slowly, and make changes until they could apply ALL the same standards, exactly as we are seeing happen right now.
Yet with this move, HC effectively pulled the wool over the eyes of the MP's and the public! When further protests happened demanding NHPs be moved out of the Drugs subclass, they all responded by saying, "No...NHP's are not Drugs, they have their own class", which HC continually repeated.
(It is unfortunate that the MP's didn't understand the legislation. I finally got through to one of them, and when the light finally went on, he said "I didn't know that. I thought they had their own distinct category", as did so many others.)
First Round of NHPs Lost
So in 2004 the NHP Regulations started, and about one third of the products we used to have were lost. Though some came back, most still haven't. (See  - a list list of lost products.)
And, of course, over time the price of NHPs went up due to the cost of compliance. Canadians basically traded quality assurance of NHPs for higher prices. But of course the story wasn't anywhere near done.
More Health Canada Attempts....
In 2007, HC came out with Bill C-51, which "magically" re-wrote the Food & Drugs Act - remember the one that would take too long to rewrite?
It again tried to legally blend NHPs with chemical pharmaceutical Drugs and levy $5 MILLION-per day fines to any NHP manufacturer that dared not heed any Health Canada edict.
...And More Protests
AGAIN Canadians revolted en masse. MP's offices were barraged with complaints from citizens, and the MPs went "out of their minds", quickly demanding Health Minister Tony Clement's resignation. He offered it, saying he didn't want to take on the bureaucrats.
And even though PM Stephen Harper wouldn't accept the resignation, this showed where the real push was coming from, and where the real power was...i.e. in a very small group of HC bureaucrats (as few as 4 individuals to be exact.)
Ponder how few unelected bureaucrats were/are impacting the lives of Canada's citizens, now numbering over 40 million. Remember that over 70% of us take NHPs. and so far TWO HC BUREAUCRATS have been identified as driving the current agenda.
What is Their Real Motivation?
At the time, Bill C-51 was once again the biggest protest ever. To avoid the issue, Parliament was prorogued early so the bill died on the table.
Then in 2009, another in a line of Health Canada whistleblowers, Dr. Shiv Chopra published a book about Health Canada, called Corrupt to the Core. detailing his experience with HC's incestuous relations with the drug companies. A revolving door of employess, drugs that should never have been approved, etc. You would think that the book and the Bill C-51 protest would have been enough to dissuade Health Canada. Not even close!
Small Changes with Far-Reaching Implications
HC's next move was to combine the directorates governing over-the-counter (OTC) chemical pharmaceuticals with NHPs, giving the excuse of saving money.
The Natural Health Products Directorate (NHPD) became the Natural and Non-prescription Health Products Directorate, NNHPD.
Of course this blurred the distinction between NHPs and OTC Drugs, particularly in the minds of the MPs.
Then in 2017 Health Canada again tried treating NHPs the same as Dugs in their proposed "Self-Care Framework".
Again, in consultations with HC, citizens and other stakeholders mounted "strong opposition to changing the way natural health products are [were] regulated." (Globe and Mail, April 1st, 2017)
And again, HC simply bided its time.
Which Brings Us to 2023
On June 22, under the pretext of Vanessa's Law, Health Canada finally accomplished their goal. This law was passed in 2013 after the death of MP Terence Young’s daughter from a pharmaceutical drug called cisapride, AKA Propulsid. The law grants HC sweeping powers to control "Therapeutic Products", i.e. pharmaceutical drugs,
Until the present, under Vanessa's Law NHPs were specifically exempted from the definition of "Therapeutic Products" (because MP’s didn’t want another Bill C-51 protest).
But HC has now eliminated the specific exemption NHPs had under the law, and pushed them under the same umbrella as chemical pharmaceuticals. They accomplished this by tacking the change onto the end of Bill C-47…this year’s budget bill! (Can you say “Underhanded”?)
Ahhhh...finally! At last!! Let's do a little victory jig! (Even if there is only 2 of them celebrating)
What Does This Really Mean for You?
With $5 million-a day fines, if you think NHP companies could disappear overnight, and the products you rely on could vanish...you would be right - regardless of what ridiculous reason they give for immediate product recalls!
Given the number of people who rely on Natural Health Products for PREVENTION, and to LESSEN THEIR IMPACT ON OUR HOSPITALS AND HEALTHCARE SYSTEM...especially during cold and flu season, and to prevent pain and suffering, to promote wellness, and in some cases to live, Health Canada's actions are so far removed from the Rule of Law it's scary.
For Reference, section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states that "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person, and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice."
Now that NHP companies can no longer challenge HC in court, or obviously are going to be too scared to do so, HC can go on to their next phase which is further driving up the prices of NHPs with their cost recovery scheme. Remember, whether you can't get it, or you can't afford it, the outcome is the same: i.e. you don't have access.
Next time we will further explore Health Canada's cost recovery scheme, and how this all ties in to the World Health Organization's International Health Regulations (more unelected dictators determining our fates), and where it’s headed, and what to do about it...but until then, consider the following:
- In 68 years, (since poison-control stats started being kept in 1955), there has never been a death in Canada from a dietary supplement or NHP. Not one...zero, zip, nadda! So how many lives have been saved by Health Canada's paper processes and constant harassment of the natural health industry? I'm sure you can do the math.
- On the other hand, depending on what source you consult, just properly prescribed prescription drugs, NOT including prescribing errors, overdose, and self-prescribing, account for over 100,000 deaths in the United States yearly, making it the 3rd or 4th leading cause of death.[2,3]
- If the above, underlined factors are added, it is more than 200,000 deaths per year!  And this doesn't even include over-the-counter drug stats, (aspirin, acetaminophen, etc.).
Based on the respective populations, Canada's rates are approximately 10% of the US. This means over 20,000 Canadian deaths from pharmaceuticals occur per year...(most estimate over 30,000). Multiply this by 68 years and you get 1.36 million deaths. [Note there are numerous ways to approach the stats but they always result in well over a million deaths]
So over a million deaths versus zero...and Health Canada has now lumped them together under the same regulatory umbrella.
Could it be more transparent what is going on?
[Part 2 to come.]
Citizens for Choice in Healthcare
Written by Anonymous (Just like Health Canada does)
Shared with Permission
2.Our prescription drugs kill us in large numbers. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/83aa/50e9e74b36127246498275b0fe01f969d743.pdf