Why we need a Natural Health Products Act!

Common Ground, along with many other organizations, businesses, and millions of natural health products customers across Canada, for decades have demanded that the government of the day leave our very safe natural products alone. They are not drugs and should be respected as such by giving then their own Natural Health Products Act.

Open letter to
Prime Minister, Right Honourable Justin Trudeau;
Minister of Health, Honourable Jane Philpott; and
Deputy Minister of Health, Simon Kennedy

I object to Health Canada’s (HC’s) proposals to classify Natural Health Products (NHPs) with prescription drugs! It is no secret in Ottawa that the pharmaceutical industry exerts massive influence on HC, and HC’s excuses for these proposals, based on safety and claims, are invalid. I urge you to use my tax dollars to support the creation of a new Natural Health Products Act (NHPA) to protect my access and freedom of choice.

In over 60 years in Canada, involving far in excess of 100,000 NHPs, taken by millions of Canadians daily, totalling billions to trillions of doses, the death total is zero (0). This makes NHPs safer than food or water and means that HC legally has no jurisdiction over NHPs since the Food and Drugs Act only grants HC powers over substances that pose a demonstrable risk, not made-up, theoretical risks with no actual occurrences like HC poses for NHPs.

Conversely, according to a report by past MP, Terence Young, as many as 20,000 Canadians die each year from pharmaceuticals, hence, over a million deaths in the same 60-year time period. And HC is proposing to regulate them together based on safety? This is absurd.

Not surprisingly, HC’s proposals come now with the Liberal government signalling they will sign the misleadingly named “free-trade deals” with Europe and Asia, i.e. CETA and TPP, which contain allowances for expansion of pharmaceutical patents and massive losses of Canadian sovereignty in all areas of our lives. See www.canadianbankreformers.ca for an important update and call to action on CETA. Huge pharmaceutical companies such as Bayer hold hundreds of use-patents on NHPs. (Eg: www.google.com/patents/US20140271923) Such patents use the most advanced research and put to rest claims by media and medicine that there is no evidence for NHPs. Big Pharma is running out of drugs, and coming for them. Consider this patent, which outlines a tablet delivery system for several hundred NHPs: http://www.google.ca/patents/US8883205

To create a single marketplace, regulations between Trade Agreement member nations must be “harmonized,” and restrictions on NHPs are being attempted in countries around the globe. This is occurring under the auspices of the International Coalition of Medicines Regulatory Authority, (ICMRA), and until recently, Health Canada was both chairing and acting as the secretariat for this group. As its regulatory model, ICMRA is using the EU where pharmaceutical companies control all aspects of healthcare.

This is HC’s third attempt to group NHPs with prescription drugs. The first came in 1997 after they were directed to partner with the pharmaceutical industry, and HC immediately came out with the Establishment Licensing Act. Canadians protested vehemently and the Act was stopped. The Standing Committee on Health performed extensive investigations, and in its final report specifically ruled out regulating NHPs as DRUGS. Parliament came out with 53 Recommendations; #1 was to amend the Food and Drugs Act to provide NHPs with a category distinct from either Foods or Drugs.

Yet HC subverted things and placed NHPS as DRUGS anyways. This was a set-up. They tried again to apply prescription drug regulations to NHPs in 2008 with Bill C51. Again, Canadians revolted and again the Bill did not proceed. So now, HC has united the departments for NHPs and OTC pharmaceuticals. As Drugs, NHPs are forced to make approved claims. HC is now using claims they approved as justification for tighter controls.

If these proposals are allowed to go forward, mass suffering will be inflicted on untold numbers of Canadians who rely on NHPs for their health, as their NHPS incrementally disappear.

The time has come for a Natural Health Products Act to protect Canadians’ access and well being, and the groundwork has already been laid. The Committees have investigated. Parliament has already decided what should happen. The department and regulatory system already exists in the Natural Health Products Directorate, and the framework for the new Act has already been written in The Charter of Health Freedom.

As a citizen of Canada, help me protect and make decisions about my own wellbeing that are rightfully mine, and push for a new NHP Act. Preserve my birthright to look after my own health.

Thank you,

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