There’s been a lot of brouhaha over Bill C-51 which intends to modernize the regulatory system for foods and therapeutic products, to strengthen the oversight of the benefits and risks of therapeutic products throughout their life cycle, to support effective compliance and enforcement actions and to enable a greater transparency and openness of the regulatory system.
A lot of people use herbal and other alternative products to help manage and improve their health. Centuries of anecdotal evidence indicate that these remedies are safe and effective. Unfortunately, there isn’t any clinical evidence to support these claims.
Herbs can’t be patented like drugs so no one company can hold a monopoly on them. No monopoly means no big bucks and no big bucks means no money for clinical trials.
They say this means that a vast majority of the natural products on the market today (60 –75%) are not going to pass Bill C-51 regulations. This will make them illegal.
They’ll be taken off the market and anyone caught selling or using them is liable to find themselves facing stiff fines or even jail time.
Apparently, those that do pass would likely be put under the control of pharmaceutical companies and would be available only by prescription. Problem is that our doctors and nurses aren’t educated in natural medicine, so how or why would they ever prescribe them?
I’m all for some sort of regulation of natural products. It would be good to know that what’s on the label of a product is actually in the product and in the amounts indicated. It would be good to put a damper on all the wild claims some natural products make. And it would be good to be charged a price that’s in line with what the product is actually worth.
And, it would be most excellent if these products could undergo some clinical testing and if our doctors could be educated on natural products and incorporate them into medical practice.
Bill C-51 seems to go way over the top, though. It’s being pushed through parliament at an alarmingly fast pace. It seems to be pandering to the demands of pharmaceutical companies who are losing more and more customers to the natural products market.
Ya, some people get duped by some of these product because they’re ineffective, and/or because people don’t know enough about them to self-prescribe, but no one has ever died from a natural product, so why these heavy-handed regulations?
There’s a petition and lots of discussion and information online if you’re interested and don’t want Grandma to end up in the hoosegow for brewing peppermint tea.