May 23, 2008 04:30 AM
Re:Naturopaths fear proposed bill
NDMAC is a 112-year-old trade association representing Canada's $4.4 billion self-care medicines industry, about half of which is regulated by the Natural Health Products Regulations. Any uncertainty around how Bill C-51 will impact the availability of natural health products is the result of misinformation and scaremongering by a small segment of the industry.
The regulation of these products started with recommendations by the parliamentary standing committee on health in 1998, and led to the creation of the Natural Health Products Regulations in 2004. Nothing in Bill C-51 alters that course. These products will continue to fall under their own regulations, administered by a separate bureaucracy, distinct from both food and drugs.
This bill reflects the urgent need to bring Canadian food and drug law into the modern era. There will no doubt be much debate as Parliament considers this bill, but there is no denying that the current law is not up to the task of dealing with the modern food and health-products industries.
Gerry Harrington, Director of Public
Affairs, NDMAC-Canada's Self-care Medicines Industry, Ottawa
Peter Helgason of the Natural Health Products Protection Association is quoted as saying, "What problem are they trying to fix" with Bill C-51? The problem is that the natural food and supplement industry is cutting into the profits of Big Pharma. Who's pushing Bill C-51? Certainly not the public.
The real purpose of Bill C-51 is to bring Canada into compliance with Codex Alimentarius. Codex is a United Nations initiative to globally "harmonize" standards and regulations with regard to food and supplements. The little-known North American Security and Prosperity Partnership is also about "harmonizing" standards between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.
Bill C-51 has nothing to do with concerns for our health and everything to do with making us ever more dependent on Big Pharma for our health needs. It is an assault on our freedom to choose alternatives.
Jon Bojicic, Maple, Ont.
Canadians will welcome Bill C-51's much-needed impact on the "naturopath" health sector. Armed with useless and unproven remedies, practitioners have been able to peddle all sorts of snake oil in the form of herbs, useless combinations of ingredients and other substances to the gullible public.
That these pills, potions and herbs were not actually harmful to our health seemed enough to allow them to be marketed as "beneficial." No double-blind testing necessary, no reasonable scientific standards allowed. So-called natural health products must be put under public scrutiny.
Even though the bill does not go far enough, it at least will strengthen our protection from harmful products being sold as remedies.
David Essner, Whitby
The passage of Bill C-51 is a frightening possibility. As someone who has been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, I have decided to use alternative treatment as an adjuvant therapy. The fact that my local health-food store may not be able to supply me with my life-saving herbals is disconcerting.
My monthly bills for purchases are already very high, and if these products become further regulated, I fear that I may be priced right out of the market.
I believe I have the right to decide whether I wish to use a product, try a new product, etc. In other words, buyer beware. I don't want the government to decide for me that something should not be available to me through current sources.
Randi Chikofsky, Maple, Ont.