Posted on 03 October 2009 by Melany Hamill.
This morning it was brought to my attention by a Macleans article by John Geddes that the Canadian Health Food Association has launched a campaign urging people to contact politicians about the problems with the regulation of natural health products. The problem is, they are complaining that too many products are not getting licenses. I encourage you to read the article and give it a positive rating, because it’s been a while since I’ve see an rational article in the mainstream news media about natural health products.
The regulation of natural health products was a big win for consumer safety in Canada. However the article also points out some severe problems with how this regulation is done. Geddes points out that “federal regulations allow products to be licenced based, not on clinical research, but on traditional claims. That’s right: products can obtain a federal licence number–what surely looks to consumers like a government seal-of-approval on the label–on the basis of old beliefs. ” If the concern is safety, his form of regulation accomplishes nothing. Geddes goes on to state “Health Canada should be in the business of applying science to regulation. And it’s impossible to reconcile the two ways of looking at a product meant to make a person healthier.”
Thanks to Geddes and Macleans for providing some much needed rationality to the natural health care debate. He also states that the campaign launched by the CHFA might backfire, prompting politicians to spot the flaws in the current system and tighten up regulation. I think Geddes is being overly optimistic here. I’m not sure that our political representatives will act on there own. Let’s take the CHFA’s advice and contact our representatives about our concerns with health product regulation in Canada, and make sure that health products in Canada are backed by science, not folk-lore.