The CHFA (Canadian Health Food Association) believes NOW is the time to tell our elected federal officials that changes are required to ensure that a wide variety of high-quality, safe, effective and innovative NHPs must remain available to Canadians. They need you, your family, your loved ones and your friends and colleagues to contact Members of Parliament.
Let the government know you want continued access to high quality, safe and effective NHPs in Canada. In October, the CHFA announced its new lobby campaign to save the natural health and organic products industry, with the launch of its new website SaveOurNaturalHealthProducts.ca.
The overall objective of this campaign is to ensure that Canadians seeking optimal health and well-being will continue to have access and choice to innovative high quality natural and organic products. Visit www.saveournaturalhealthproducts.ca to send a message to your political leaders.
Your right to make informed personal decisions and choices affecting your and your family’s health is being threatened. Please send a message to your Member of Parliament, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Health stating that Health Canada should work with the Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) to re-align its interpretation of the NHP Regulations and the 53 recommendations from the Standing Committee on Health and in keeping with reasonable standards.
Health Canada has regulated Canada’s NHP industry for a few years now. In 2004, it implemented new Natural Health Product Regulations. The intent of the NHP Regulations is to ensure Canadians have access to and choice about a wide variety of high-quality, safe and effective Natural Health Products – an objective the Natural Health Products industry heartily endorses.
Since the NHP Regulations were implemented, the industry has worked extremely hard to comply with more than 38,000 product licence applications submitted to the Natural Health Product Directorate (NHPD) of Health Canada. After five years, just over 13,000 applications have been approved for a licence, with almost 50 percent being refused or withdrawn; we are now reaching a breaking point.
The federal government’s Natural Health Products Directorate (NHPD Canada) is responsible for receiving NHP licence applications from the natural health products industry.
2004 - 2009
Over 41,000 product licence applications submitted
- Just over 16,000 applications approved by NHPD
- About 10,000 applications still waiting for assessment*
*Licence, applications and approval numbers updated Oct-09
In some cases, applications have waited several years for review.
In five years, just under 40 percent of the NHP licence applications submitted for approval have actually been licenced, which is alarming. And the apparent deadline for enforcement is almost here: April 2010. The system is broken. Health Canada must postpone any enforcement activity until the system is fixed.
It is readily apparent that, without some much needed changes to the current regulatory process, Canada’s natural health products industry will no longer be able to provide the variety of innovative products Canadians expect and deserve. Some experts predict that, by the end of Health Canada’s new enforcement strategy, over 50 percent of our country’s natural health products industry will be eliminated. That means thousands of Canadians will lose their jobs and the government will lose millions in tax revenues. But most of all, it means thousands of Canadians will lose their ability to make their own informed decisions about natural health products. Drastic measures must be implemented to ensure timely access to high-quality, safe and effective NHPs in Canadian markets.
In 1998, after extensive consultations with consumers and the NHP industry, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health produced a report, “Natural Health Products: A Shared Vision.” The report included 53 recommendations and stated that NHPs were neither food nor drugs and they warranted a separate regulatory framework. Then federal Minister of Health The Honourable Allan Rock approved all 53 recommendations and the development of new Natural Health Product Regulations. Since then, the industry has worked hard to comply with the NHP Regulations, most notably those that require NHPs to obtain a product “licence” before being sold in Canada and those which require NHPs to be made in accordance with Good Manufacturing Practices. Since 2004, our Natural Health Product industry has submitted more than 41,000 licence applications and received just over 16,000 licence approvals.
Do the math
As you can see, just over one-third of the NHP licences requested by the industry during the past five years have actually been approved. In other words, nearly two-thirds are still waiting or have been refused and may never be approved. If that happens, the entire Natural Health Products industry in Canada would be drastically curtailed. Your favourite health products may no longer be available for sale in Canada.
The Canadian Health Food Association is Canada’s largest national trade association dedicated to the natural and organic products industry. Its members represent the entire supply chain including growers, manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers, distributors, and importers involved in a variety of industry sub-sectors such as vitamin and mineral supplements, herbal products, homeopathics, sports nutrition products, natural and organic foods, fibres and health and beauty aids. CHFA member products support Canadians seeking optimal health and well-being.