The Impact of Proposed Changes to Natural Health Product Regulations in Canada

Natural Health Products (NHPs) have been an integral part of proactive healthcare for Canadians, regulated by the Natural and Non-Prescription Health Products Directorate (NNHPD) under the Natural Health Products Regulations (NHPR) since 2004. However, recent proposed changes by Health Canada threaten the unique regulatory framework that has made Canada a global leader in NHP regulation.

Current Regulatory Framework: Under the existing regulations, all NHPs must be approved by Health Canada before being sold in Canada, with a Natural Product Number (NPN) or Homeopathic Medicine Number (DIN-HM) indicating approval. This ensures that Canadians can trust the safety, efficacy, and quality of the products they use. The level of evidence required varies based on the nature and risk associated with the health claim.

Proposed Changes and Labeling Requirements: On July 6, 2022, Health Canada announced new labeling requirements set to take effect in 2025. The intention is to enhance clarity and reduce confusion for consumers. Unfortunately, these changes were made without considering industry feedback, leading to technical and inflexible guidance that poses challenges for brands. An Economic Impact Study revealed that these changes could lead to product withdrawals, companies leaving the Canadian market, and negative impacts on employment.

Cost Recovery Concerns: The proposed cost recovery system for NHPs, including fees for product evaluation, site licenses, and annual renewal fees, is a significant departure from the current regulatory landscape. While cost recovery is acknowledged as necessary, the proposed fees, if implemented simultaneously with new labeling requirements, could financially devastate the NHP industry in Canada, particularly small to medium-sized businesses.

Impact on the NHP Industry:

  1. Financial Strain: The proposed changes threaten the viability of many companies, potentially forcing them to shut down Canadian operations.
  2. Price Increases and Limited Availability: Brands may face dramatic price increases or withdraw from the Canadian market altogether, resulting in decreased product variety and choice.
  3. Challenges for Local Businesses:Small, local businesses may struggle to navigate complex regulations and face lengthy approval processes, leading to increased costs that they may not be able to absorb.
  4. Environmental Impact: New regulations may increase packaging, reduce recyclability, and negatively impact the environment.

In the face of these proposed changes to Natural Health Product (NHP) regulations in Canada, it’s essential for concerned individuals to take action and advocate for a balanced and reasonable regulatory approach. Here are some resources that can help you get involved and make a difference:

  1. Request an Action Kit: To actively participate in the advocacy efforts, you can request an Action Kit by visiting this link. The kit includes valuable resources such as messages and images for social media, a sample email to share with your network, and other digital assets to help build awareness in your community.
  2. Email Your Elected Member of Parliament: You can directly reach out to your elected Member of Parliament (MP) and express your concerns about the proposed changes to NHP regulations. Use the Save Our Supplements website to find resources and a template for sending an impactful email to your MP. Your voice matters, and collective action is crucial to preserving the diversity, innovation, and accessibility of Natural Health Products in Canada.If these changes are imposed, there is a risk of losing access to a variety of essential products that contribute to our well-being. All supplements may be impacted- even common items like protein powder and magnesium products, which many rely on as part of their health routines. It is vital to recognize the potential consequences and actively engage in advocacy efforts to protect the availability and affordability of these products.

By actively engaging with these resources and spreading awareness within your community, you contribute to the strength of the industry and help ensure that Canadians continue to have access to safe, effective, and diverse Natural Health Products. Advocacy is a powerful tool, and together, we can make a difference in shaping the future of NHP regulations in Canada