So for kicks, I went and emailed each of the major parties to ask them why they weren’t fighting this and then I ask the Conservatives why they were doing this. I never received a response from the NDP but here is what the other two said:
Liberal:Thank you for your letter regarding Bill C-51, in which you have expressed concerns the legislation may negatively affect access to natural health products.
The health, safety and wellbeing of Canadians has been and will continue to be at the heart of the Liberal Party’s examination of this legislation.
As such, we firmly believe that Canadians have a fundamental right to have access and choice in treatment options regarding their health. We will work to ensure that this legislation does not further restrict the use, sale, or distribution of safe natural health products. Please be assured that we will continue to be vigilant in our study of this issue and we will keep your concerns in mind.
Conservative:I want to emphasize at the outset that Natural Health Products are not regulated as food or as drugs; they have been regulated as a unique category since 2004. Bill C-51 does not contemplate any changes to the Natural Health Products Regulations.
Moreover, the intention of the Bill and Regulations is to facilitate access to safe and effective Natural Health Products rather than keep them from Canadians. For your information, the Natural Health Products Regulations can be found at http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/showdoc/cr/SOR-2003-196///en?page=1.
I want to clarify the term ï¿½??therapeutic productï¿½?? in the legislation. This term is general in nature because it includes drugs, natural health products, medical devices, veterinary drugs, and blood and blood products. They all share one common element: they claim to enhance human health, and Canadians rely on them to do that.
When a health claim is made, it needs to be tested in order to ensure public safety. The regulations to make this possible for Natural Health Products have been working now for five years.
There has been some misunderstanding regarding the approach of government toward Natural Health Products. I want to clarify that the legislation now before the House of Commons requires that compliance and enforcement measures be gauged to the degree of risk of the product.
On products of low risk, which includes most Natural Health Products, pharmaceutical standards of evidence are not required. On the other hand, the legislation also requires vigilance to ensure that tainted products are found and recalled, that what is on the label is actually in the bottle, and that health claims are supported by evidence.
In the future, under a modernized Food and Drugs Act, the numbers and variety of Natural Health Products will continue to grow, and Canadians can be confident that they will always be able to access innovative, safe and effective Natural Health Products.
I was surprised at the detail I got from the Conservatives. But let’s be honest, none of the other parties are going to stop this and cause a vote when they are ready…