The New Natural? Regulations coming for Canadian health products

Minister of Health Anne McLellan recently announced the adoption of the Natural Health Products.

Previously, natural health products (NHPs) have been sold as either drugs or foods under the Food and Drugs Act and Regulations, since there is no other category in which they can be classified. The Natural Health Product Regulations are the result of a comprehensive and inclusive consultation process with Canadian consumers, academics, health care practitioners and industry stakeholders. The new Regulations call for improved labelling, good manufacturing practices, product and site licensing, and provisions for a full range of health claims that will be supported by evidence.

“Consumers have asked for labelling of all ingredients, for any warnings to be clear and understandable, for assurances of quality and safety, and for a system of product licencing. With the introduction of these Regulations, Canadians will now be in a much better position to make more informed decisions about the natural health products they consume,” stated Minister McLellan.

The products that fall within the new Regulations include herbal remedies, homeopathic medicines, vitamins, minerals, traditional medicines, probiotics, amino acids and essential fatty acids (such as Omega-3).

All natural health products in Canada will now require a product licence before being marketed. Once a product has been assessed by Health Canada, the product label will bear a product licence number preceded by the distinct letters NPN, or, in the case of a homeopathic medicine, by the letters DIN-HM. The product licence number on the label will inform consumers that the product has been reviewed and approved by Health Canada for safety and efficacy.

Health Canada, Jun 18, 2003