CHFA Statement on NAPRA Directive

TORONTO, Jan. 29 /CNW/ - The National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA) has issued a directive to the provinces requesting that pharmacists not sell Natural Health Products (NHPs) without a Drug Identification Number (DIN), Natural Product Number (NPN) or Drug Identification Number for Homeopathic Medicine (DIN-HM). NAPRA did not engage in consultations with industry participants who will be adversely affected by this move.

This is a self-serving directive and is inconsistent with the spirit of Health Canada's current Compliance and Enforcement Policy for NHPs. The items currently for sale but lacking a DIN or NPN have submitted formulation and safety data and been assigned a submission number by Health Canada and will continue to be readily available in other stores. It is far from clear that in its short-sightedness, NAPRA is fully aware of the impact its move will have on suppliers of safe NHPs all across Canada.

The significance of this issue can not be overstated, and its potential economic impact is very serious. Suppliers of safe, effective NHPs that have relied upon pharmacies as important sources of distribution will now see their products removed from pharmacy shelves even though they will be readily available in other stores. This will cost companies millions of dollars and jobs will be lost as a result. Consumers will experience a reduction in the availability of thousands of the products they have come to rely on.

CHFA is very concerned with consumer safety and the record of the NHP industry speaks to this. NHPs are safe and effective, in demand all across Canada, and have a very low risk profile. However the wholesale removal of provisionally-approved products from pharmacy shelves has nothing to do with enhancing safety. It is a radical move with wide-ranging economic implications for businesses across Canada that will not enhance consumer safety.

CHFA will continue to work with the federal government to address the problems that have prevented effective regulation of NHPs in Canada. It is in the interest of Canadians' health and well being - and economic competitiveness - to provide collaboratively an effective regulatory regime for these and all other products. But NAPRA does not seem to agree with this basic principle. It has taken a sledge hammer to a finishing nail with this directive.

NAPRA's directive is against the enforcement policy of the federal government. It will do nothing to improve safety. It will cost millions of dollars and put countless jobs at risk. It will create confusion for consumers. It is the wrong thing to do.

SOURCE Canadian Health Food Association

For further information: For further information: Natalie Cajic, CHFA Communications Co-ordinator, Tel: (800) 661-4510 or (416) 497-6939, ext. 234, E-mail: ncajic@chfa.ca


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