News Flash – Health Canada Backs Off Deadline for Banishing Natural Health Products
Just prior to going to press with the March issue of Vitality Magazine, editor Julia Woodford asked me to double check what the position of Health Canada’s Natural Health Products Directorate is in regard to stopping the availability of all natural health products that do not yet have a so-called DIN or HIN number. The official deadline, about which all retailers and manufacturers were informed, was March 1, 2011. Retailers – i.e. health food stores – were told that they may sell existing stocks of products not yet certified, but may not order new stock, obviously regardless of what the consumer wants and relies upon to protect his and her health.
I made some calls to the offices of the NHPPA and Trueman Tuck’s Organization, and was told that March 1 was the only deadline they knew about. I informed Julia Woodford of this and the March issue went to press.
Late that evening when I returned to my office, I found a message from the NHPPA’s Julia Rickert informing me that Health Canada had yet again postponed its March 1 deadline for banishing unapproved health products from the Canadian marketplace, and this time it’s anybody’s guess as to when a new deadline will be established.
A rumour had been going around that Health Canada would postpone its deadline to June or maybe September. Those rumours turned out to have no basis in fact. What did happen was this: On February 12 the director of the Health Canada Natural Health Products Directorate announced at a meeting in Quebec that his directorate would accept the original 32 recommendations (from more than a decade ago) about the standards of evidence for natural products needing to be fundamentally different from those standards required for synthetic drugs. (For example: a vitamin cannot be tested for “safety” through a double-blind placebo-controlled trial, as required for pharmaceutical drugs, because it would mean that a control group would have to be deprived of all vitamin C – which everybody knows would kill every member of that control group very quickly.) The original recommendations made to parliament by one of its own committees in the 1990s was that all natural health products must be recognized as being inherently safe – unlike all pharmaceutical drugs which are, quite rightly, assumed to be toxic unless proven otherwise or shown to be “tolerable” in dosages that hopefully won’t kill people. Natural health products never kill people – a fact so well documented that it is becoming absurd to continue to discuss herbs, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, etc., in the same breath as pharmaceutical drugs when referring to safety issues.
The fact is, however, that the regulations currently in effect would have to be fundamentally changed through an act of parliament to incorporate those original 32 recommendations. That has neither happened nor is such a move currently suggested by anybody. Stating at a meeting that those 32 recommendations are accepted is, in short, a lot of hot air with no substance.
What is not hot air is the fact that the infamous deadline of March 1 did disappear and nobody knows when a new deadline will be imposed!
As they say: stay tuned. Your guess is as good as anybody’s, and here is mine for entertainment purposes mostly: It is possible, in my view, that Health Canada has been cautioned and told to cool it since a federal election is possible soon, and since the return of Bill C-51 is a plan that has begun with BIG Pharma industry hearings behind closed doors (for more, see my article in the March issue of Vitality), and getting C-51 into law undoubtedly would require a Conservative majority, which is Prime Minister Harper’s goal. On the Health Canada website, it states that as far back as 2005 polls showed that 71% of Canadians use natural health products regularly. Most of those are voters.
Secondly, the legal actions launched in the U.S. and Europe (as described in my March Vitality article), and the start of legal action in Canada through the NHPPA, also create a problem for ramming through a draconian reduction of availability of natural health products. And then there is that very inconvenient legal decision which NHPPA lawyer
Shawn Buckley received in 2006 by Justice Meagher. Basing his decision on previous Supreme Court decisions, Judge Meagher made it clear that government cannot legally deprive Canadians of substances upon which they rely for their health. Read that decision, starting on page 197 of my book What Part of No! Don’t They Understand? Rescuing Food and Medicine from Government Abuse, Kos 2008, available for free downloading from my website www.kospublishing.com. That legal decision sets the precedent that Health Canada’s powers of regulation are limited in terms of human rights.
The battle is not over and has indeed begun in earnest now. Your support of the efforts of the NHPPA is vital, and your opposition to Health Canada’s insistence on regulating natural health products as if they were toxic drugs is equally vital. (Visit www.nhppa.org)
The bottom line is this: don’t stockpile stuff that you need and that does not have a DIN or HIN number, but do exercise your democratic right and responsibility to oppose junk science and tyrannical government regulation that interferes with how you wish to treat your ailments and prevent getting sick.
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