Regulating Natural Products: Impact on Canadians

Season 1 | Episode 38
16m | Jun 24, 2023

In this podcast episode, join Joel Thuna MH, a master herbalist and general manager of Purely Natural, as he discusses the proposed regulations by Health Canada regarding natural products. With his extensive knowledge and experience in the industry, Joel sheds light on the history of regulations for natural health products and their significance.

Joel explains that natural health products, including supplements, vitamins, minerals, herbs, homeopathic products, traditional medicines, amino acids, and even everyday items like toothpaste, deodorant, mouthwash, and shampoos, are regulated by Health Canada. He emphasizes the substantial market value of these products, amounting to $2.3 billion annually in Canada alone.

Delving into the past, Joel reveals that before 2004, natural health products were classified as over-the-counter drugs, subject to regulation similar tolike medications such as ASA or Tylenol. However, early attempts by Health Canada to restrict the availability of supplements sparked public outcry, leading to extensive consultations and the eventual establishment of new regulations dedicated to natural health products in 2004.

Joel highlights the benefits of the current regulations, both for the industry and consumers. The guidelines provide a clear framework for manufacturers, ensuring the safety and efficacy of products available to Canadians. The presence of a Natural Product Number (NPN) on packaging signifies Health Canada's approval and instills confidence in consumers.

The podcast hosts also discuss the fallout from the 2004 legislation, which required companies to obtain NPN numbers for their products. Some companies were unable to comply due to resource limitations or inability to substantiate product claims. Consequently, numerous products and companies disappeared from the market.

Furthermore, the podcast explores the existing steps to obtain an NPN for new products in Canada. Joel briefly touches on the licensing requirements for manufacturing, packaging, labeling, and importing. He also emphasizes Canada's strict standards for active ingredient levels, distinguishing it from other jurisdictions where insufficient actives ingredients are a prevalent issue.

As the conversation progresses, the focus shifts to the proposed regulations from Health Canada and their potential implications. Joel discusses the challenges and concerns surrounding these new regulations, shedding light on their possible impact on manufacturers and the Canadian public. He shares insights into the need for continued collaboration and advocacy to ensure fair and effective regulations for the natural health product industry.

Join Joel Thuna MH and the podcast hosts as they navigate the complex landscape of natural health product regulations, examining the past, present, and potential future of this vital industry in Canada. Gain a deeper understanding of the proposed changes, their consequences, and the importance of maintaining access to safe and effective natural health products for all Canadians.

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