OTTAWA, Feb. 8, 2012 /CNW/ - Consumer Health Products Canada, the association representing makers of the natural health products (NHPs) and OTC medicines that Canadians use in the practice of self-care, warned that calls by a health food retailer association for new legislation will only undermine the effort to reduce unnecessary red tape and provide Canadians with access to safe, high quality natural health products.
"Much has been accomplished by Health Canada under the new Natural Health Products Regulations," said CHP Canada spokesperson Gerry Harrington, "Over 50,000 products have been legally authorized for sale, including many thousands that could not have been made available legally under the old rules. Nonetheless, CHP Canada strongly supports the recommendations of the Red Tape Reduction Commission, many of which are already being addressed by Health Canada, because they will make the administration of those regulations much more efficient."
CHP Canada's concern over the Canadian Health Food Association's call for a new law is that it would both be completely unnecessary and delay full implementation of the Natural Health Products Regulations and the Red Tape Reduction Commission's recommendations. "It would be completely counter-productive to put the business of improving the regulatory environment for these products on hold while Parliament debates a new and unnecessary piece of legislation," said Harrington.
The first priority in the regulation of NHPs is protecting the health of those Canadians who practice self-care in the management of their own health with these products. CHP Canada's members, the companies that make these products, also benefit from a strong regulatory system because it builds consumer confidence in the safety, quality and effectiveness of NHPs, while maintaining a level playing field for the industry. One concern is that delays in the full enforcement of the new regulations may undermine consumer confidence as noncompliant products continue to appear on store shelves alongside licensed products. In fact, a survey conducted for Health Canada in 2010 showed that consumer confidence in NHPs has, in fact, declined slightly since the regulations were introduced in 2004. Ironically, this trend may also be reflected in the survey cited by the Canadian Health Food Association1 to support their call for new legislation, which shows that a majority of Canadians want tighter restrictions on NHPs.
CHP Canada believes that enforcement of the existing rules, while implementing the recommendations of the Red Tape Reduction Commission, is the best way of addressing the needs of self-care practicing Canadians while providing a stable and predictable environment for the growth of the industry.
CHP Canada is a 115 year-old trade association representing the consumer health products industry, including the manufacturers of natural health products and over-the-counter remedies.
1 Final Report, National Omnibus, Canadian Health Food Association, accessed online January 7, 2012 http://www.chfa.ca/Portals/0/CONTENT/2011/Communications/Media%20Release/2011.11.15.6125%20R%20-%20CHFA%20Omnibus.pdf
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