Codex Alimentarius Comes to Canada – Even though the Canadian Govt. pushed Bill C-6, the Senate refused to pass it without major changes. The Govt. prorogued govt. shortly thereafter, killing all bills before the house. That should have been the end of the Bill C-6 threat. Apparently not.
Stop selling unlicensed natural health remedies: pharmacy regulators
Tom Blackwell, National Post
Makers of natural-health products say they are bracing for widespread layoffs and millions of dollars in losses after Canada’s pharmacy regulators issued a surprise directive recently urging druggists to stop selling unlicensed natural remedies.
The order affects thousands of herbal treatments, multi-vitamins and other products, most of them waiting for approval from Health Canada under a backlogged, five-year-old program to regulate natural-health goods.
The National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA) says pharmacists cannot be assured the products are safe until they are granted a government licence, and should not sell them in those circumstances. “Pharmacists are obliged to hold the health and safety of the public or patient as their first and foremost consideration,” said the association’s recently issued position statement.
Representatives of the natural health industry, however, have reacted angrily to the directive issued last month, predicting it will have little impact on patient safety, while triggering an economic “crisis” for their members.
“We are talking about job loss, we are talking about a lot of income loss, we are talking about product stuck in warehouses that cannot be sold,” Jean-Yves Dionne, a spokesman for the Canadian Health Food Association, said in an interview.
A statement issued by the association calls the directive self-serving and contrary to federal government policy.
“It has taken a sledge hammer to a finishing nail,” the group said. “It will create confusion for consumers. It is the wrong thing to do.”
Treat vitamins as over-the-counter drugs: doctors
With Health Canada poised to let food makers fortify a wide range of new products with vitamins and other nutrients, a group of leading emergency-department doctors is calling for vitamins to be treated like over-the-counter drugs because of their potentially dangerous side effects.
The physicians from children’s hospitals in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario also recommend that vitamin A no longer be allowed as an ingredient in multivitamins, citing evidence that it can cause birth defects in high doses.
The researchers stress that vitamins are generally safe and healthy when consumed appropriately. But with many Canadians convinced that taking large quantities of certain supplements can stave off various medical problems, the doctors caution that the public needs to know more about the downsides of high doses or improper chronic use.
Those effects range from liver damage caused by too much vitamin A to hardening of the arteries linked to vitamin C, the physicians outline in a paper just published in The Annals of Pharmacotherapy. Some can also interact riskily with other drugs, undermining blood-clotting ability, for instance, when combined with the popular painkiller Ibuprofen.
“We don’t want to wait for something bad to happen,” said Dr. Ran Goldman, head of emergency at the B.C. Children’s Hospital and the study’s lead author.
The doctors take aim as well at a proposal being considered by Health Canada to give food manufacturers freedom to fortify a wide range of products, including snack foods and pop, with vitamins and other nutrients. A department official reiterated in a recent letter that the government is moving toward the change.
The idea is “unacceptable,” given the already high consumption of vitamins in society, the emergency physicians say.
Health Canada, though, says that it has serious concerns about their study and how it portrays regulation of vitamins. In fact, the nutrients are covered by the government’s new natural-health products rules, and they require substances to undergo assessment before being approved and to carry detailed side-effect information, the department said in an email response to questions.
The doctors suggest the five-year-old natural-health regulations are not appropriately stringent for products