Natural Health Product Sector Calls for Updated Food & Drug Act

The Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) today released new public opinion data that supports the sector's call for a modernized Food and Drug Act.

This new Act would remove natural health products (NHPs) as a subset of drugs. "With over 70 per cent of Canadians using natural health products it is important that the regulations of these products are updated," says Helen Sherrard, President, CHFA. The House of Commons Standing Committee on Health concluded in 1998 that NHPs are neither foods nor drugs and therefore should be defined separately in the Act. Despite this committee finding, supported by Members of Parliament from all parties, the Act has not been amended. NHPs continue to be positioned as a subset of drugs creating many serious problems for the industry in Canada.

The Ipsos Reid Omnibus survey results released today by CHFA clearly demonstrate the public supports a new act for NHPs. The survey found seven in ten Canadians supported developing a new act for NHPs in Canada. "Not only have members of Parliament supported a modernized act but the public is decisively behind this initiative," says Sherrard.

The public opinion survey also demonstrated that the vast majority of Canadian consumers, 71 per cent, consider NHPs to be safe. Not surprisingly then, among Canadian consumers of NHPs, 80 per cent indicated these products were "somewhat or very important" to their family. "The survey demonstrates to Government that natural health products are important to Canadians and consumers want reasonable rules for these products now" added Sherrard.

CHFA also highlighted that the NHP sector creates thousands of jobs and contributes three billion dollars annually to the Canadian economy. "This is a sector that is expanding and growing to meet the demands of Canadians seeking more natural ways to optimize their overall health. We need to ensure that the Federal Government's positive moves for red tape reduction and smart regulations are supported," concluded Sherrard.
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