6 Join The Campaign To Save Our Natural Health Products


Join the Campaign to Save Our Natural Health Products

Published On: March 1, 2024Tags: , ,

By Veronica Jean

Health Canada is implementing an initiative that will restrict Canadians’ access to most of our natural health products. Health Canada’s initiative is called the Self-Care Framework (the “SCF”). There are several branches to the SCF which, taken together, will further limit our access to natural remedies.

Under Health Canada’s Self-Care Framework, companies that sell natural health products (NHPs) will no longer be able to use traditional use evidence to obtain a license for their products. An example of such traditional use evidence is a claim on a product label that states, “ginger is traditionally used to prevent nausea.” This change alone will remove most Canadian natural health products from the market. As a result, vital remedies used by natural health care practitioners such as naturopathic doctors, homeopaths, and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners will no longer be licensed. We will lose these healers when the remedies they use to help us are no longer available in Canada. Additionally, new fees will be imposed that will bankrupt manufacturers and raise the costs of the limited natural health products that remain. Natural health products are already too expensive for many Canadians to access. Higher prices will make them even less accessible.

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The SCF also includes harsh penalties that are meant to destroy anyone who does not comply, as highlighted by constitutional lawyer and NHPPA (Natural Health Product Protection Association) President Shawn Buckley. Last year, Health Canada snuck strict new penalties into the Budget Bill. Previously, a violation of the Food and Drugs Act or Regulations in the context of natural health products might incur a $5,000 fine. For instance, if a naturopathic doctor ran a truthful, month-long advertisement that Health Canada disagreed with, there could be a $5,000 fine. Now, fines can reach up to $5,000,000 per day of the offence. So, that same naturopathic doctor could attract fines totalling $150 million. No natural health care practitioner or natural health company can survive even a $5,000,000 fine. These fines are not just punitive, they are oppressive. These penalties were meant for large pharmaceutical companies. They were never appropriate to be applied to small natural health companies and natural health care practitioners.

Member of Parliament, Blaine Calkins, has introduced a Private Member’s Bill called Bill C-368 to repeal these unreasonable penalties. The Bill is going to have its second reading late this spring.  In advance of this second reading, we need all 338 Members of Parliament to know that Canadians are in favour of Bill C-368. The Natural Health Product Protection Association is running a petition and letter-writing campaign to support Bill C-368. Our campaign has three parts: (1) sign our e-petition, (2) send an electronic letter to 15 key Members of Parliament, and (3) print a physical letter to your local Member of Parliament. We make it easy for you to make your voice heard. Please do your part to protect our access to natural remedies. Visit nhppa.org/bill-c368 to sign the e-petition and write your MP.

Veronica Jean is the NHPPA National Campaign Director.