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Regulating natural health products

Unsubstantiated health claims, misrepresentation of content, and shady manufacturing and importation practices, do not enhance the health of Canadians and can pose a health risk, says naturopathic doctor Lorne Swetlikoff. Regulating natural products to make sure they're safe makes sense. But, he says, a closer look at Bill C-51 raises concerns like reduced public access to certain natural medicines that naturopathic doctors recommend and that Canadians depend on.

Do you see the proposed legislation as a threat to your access to natural health products — or a welcome effort to make sure Canadians have access to safe products?

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Comments

Horacio Bellaclava Wingtip

Toronto

It's whole milk all over again. I got me a few biology degrees, one in related biotech field. Traditional pharma clinical trial results aren't released to the public. The past 10 years have shown some of the true effectiveness and risk associated, can be questionable. Only through market placement can we get true numbers out in the open, which will eventually arise anyway. If a proper model was put into place for measurable feedback from "patients", we can monitor naturopathic treatments.

On a personal note, I had no less than 7 surgeons, doctors, sports therapists, specialists look at my legs during a rare episode that almost rendered me unable to walk a fair distance. The open mindedness of a naturopath solved it. That alone is evidence that there is potential with regards to serving people. Let's not kill this potential, based upon the lack of proper administration and managerial insight by red-tape bureaucrats. Again, another time when I'm ashamed of Canada's amateur performance.

Posted June 5, 2008 02:01 PM

angelina

TO

I do see this bill as a threat to natural products

Posted June 5, 2008 06:40 PM

Michael

Toronto

This bill isn't a threat to natural products, it's something that could save people's lives! With all the nonsense being spouted by NPs as to how their methods are better and safer, it's no wonder that people have never paid too close attention to see if they actually work in a double-blind study!

Posted June 5, 2008 07:14 PM

Jaimie Driedger

Calgary

Bill C-51 scares me. I have to say I feel like the regular health system has been unreliable and I am happy to currently be able to choose another option if I feel I need to. I am luckier than most Calgarians because I have a good family doctor, but my visits to her have been brief and usually unhelpful. She is overworked and prone to prescribing drugs rather than looking for the underlying cause of an issue. I have sympathy for her but I can't rely on her for small "lifestyle" health issues. I also feel like I am wasting her valuable time as many people seem to be in more desparate need of her than I am.
I currently see an acupucturist and herbalist. Both of these practitioners have been nothing but professionals, and while I do trust them, I always make sure to research all of the remedies they prescribe. I would do the same with conventional drugs. I like to have a feeling choosing what is best for me, and I don't like the fact that the choice may be narrowed or even eliminated for me by the government in the future.

Posted June 5, 2008 07:20 PM

Terri

Kimberley

Bill C-51 seems innocuous at first glance,but, when we read further it is the parts that call for "no warrant needed for search and seizure",ability of Gov. to seize your huse and dispose of it at their discretion. Yes, we do need to have a regulation in place that will protect the consumer,but,let's ensure we do not have athe same legal problems that (some) big pharma plagues us with due to their dubious testing methods. And we must remember for the most part WE KNOW WHAT'S IN NATURAL MEDICINES, WE DON'T KNOW WHAT CHEMICALS ARE IN BIG PHARMA.

Posted June 5, 2008 08:54 PM

Darlene

Victoria

Bill C-51 is just downright wrong!!
Are herbal alternatives finally starting to make the pharmacuitical companies afraid that they'll lose money?
Doctors would have had my daughter in the grave by now, if we hadn't taken her to a naturalpath. Lab looks at a stool sample and says no parisites. Her blood was full of them. Dr. says she's not aneimic; her red blood cells were popping like pop fiz in a glass. Here's another thing we fought regularly. She's just depresed, give her anti-depressants. You would be too if you were so sick for so long, but that is not the root. What the government needs to do is help make natural remedies more afordable and bring in more, so that us deprived Canadians have to cross the border to purchase...LIKE NATURAL PROGESTERON CREAM. No one needs synthetic estrogen (nor does the environment). We need natural progesterone to make our bodies use the estrogen it has.
That's too big a seller for the druggist. No, Bill C-51 sounds too smoke screened. I think we'll bew very sorry before long if it gets through. Oh well. here, have an anti-depressant. Oh and here's something for the side effects...and here's something for the side effects from that!

Posted June 5, 2008 09:50 PM

Fred Hiebert

I am dependent on natural remidys. If it was't for herbs, I would posibly be on a weelchare. But now I am not. My family Doctor does not help me and fell in great need for Naturessunshine's products. Bill C-51 should not be past.

Posted June 6, 2008 03:38 AM

Mimi Hachey

I studied both Pharmacology and Naturopathy and while it was just a "blink" I had into these sciences, I keep these basis in mind for the rest of my life.

Family doctors are generally good to follow-up on problems, but only a few are real good doctors that go the extra mile to search for a possible cause. The majority are over worked (like the rest of us)and find it a lot easier to prescribe a drug and have the patient out of their office within 15 minutes.

On the other hand, Naturopaths are not all good so people have to search on whatever is being suggested (either family doctor or naturopath) to be sure they receive the right remedy for their ailment.

Overall, moderation is a good motto.

Taking charge of ourselves is primordial, and fortunately...we finally have some choices, so we need to forget about C-51 and find another way to prevent UNhealthy products coming on Canadian shelves. There should be professionals perusing pharmaceutical and natural products to be sure that the product on our Canadian store shelves are appropriate.

"no warrant needed for search and seizure" is a good option as long as it is done by professionals with a good intention. What I am afraid of is some governmental people applying this option in a controlling fashion!

I want the choice, so I want both options to prevail!

Posted June 6, 2008 06:00 PM

Chris

Toronto

Our world is becoming more polluted and unnatural. Access to clean air (at least in urban centres) is poor. Access to unpreserved food products is expensive. With all the smog and perservatives the average Canadian is ingesting these days new maladies are bound to pop up and the medical profession isn't always going to be able to help.

Bill C-51 will drastically tie the hands of those looking for another health option as well as those willing to give it. The over regulation of natural rememdies seems like some organization just wants a slice of the pie. If it ain't broke, don't fix it folks.

I had a chronic condition of prostatitis that the medical community could not heal. After 3 years of failed attempts from medical doctors I tried a Naturopathic Doctor. Two weeks and I was fine. I've read other stories like this on this comment board. For every story we see here there are hundreds of ones not told.

Why does the government want to change this practice? What purpose does it serve them?

Posted June 7, 2008 05:08 PM

m

MB

Remember many naturapthic docotors make a very significant income from the natural remedies and supplements that they prescribe to thier patients and very often sell in thier self-owned, operated and regulated natural pharmacies operated out of thier clinics.They are in support of the bill. HMMMMMMMMM????

Posted June 10, 2008 06:43 PM

paul conyette

It's time to see more regulation with Bill C-51 in the supplement industry. The suppliers of these products have had a long run against the pharmaceutical manufacturers who had their products "hammered on the anvil " since the 1940's. Maybe we can expect better products and more reliable research with better outcome predictions for natural products.

Posted June 11, 2008 06:08 AM

Evan

Ontario

I support bill c-51.
I am sick of hearing people write that this bill destroys rights. Past comments on this page like "no warrant needed for search and seizure" was quoted supposable from the bill. It was in fact not!

What this bill ACTUALLY says is:
"If the place referred to in subsection 23(1) is a dwelling-house, an inspector may not enter it without the consent of the occupant except under the authority of a warrant issued under subsection"

These health inspectors are given no more power than a regular officer of the law... so my suggestion to people writing about this bill is to actually look at the bill before you comment on it.

Further, why would natural health product promoter be concerned about a bill that actually checks and regulates claims of the products? It will only restrict those products that falsely promoted un-scientific claims.

I hope that this bill passes and brings a new age of reason to Canadians choices in health products.

Posted June 26, 2008 08:26 PM

Dan

Toronto

Testing products to find out if they are safe is fine - but don't make all therapeutic herbs, used for thousands of years, illegal until they have been tested. I think thousands of years of use is a pretty good test to begin with. Pharmaceutical drugs are one of the leading causes of death largely because of their toxicity (look it up) and many of them are dangerous to stop taking once you start (money in pharma's pocket) while natural drugs do not have this dangerous control over the patient for the rest of their lives, and don't have the toxicity of pharmaceuticals. Naturopaths won't even be able to prescribe them so natural medicines will be UNAVAILABLE and we will be stuck with lifelong dependency on toxic drugs if we have any of the diseases that they are used for in place of safer natural medicine. I will very likely leave the country if this is the kind of fascist totalitarianism that lobbying has come to.

Posted July 2, 2008 03:04 AM

Lisa

Saskatchewan

I am afraid of a day when canadians become even more limited in accessing natural remedies. I have eczema and I haven't been able to find anything that works on my skin until I heard about using silver. I researched its historic use as much as I could and decided to try it. I found a bodywash that has silver in it, and it has worked wonders for me. If I am ever forced to stop using this product, I don't know what i'll do. I guess i'd go back to suffering from my eczema on a daily basis.

Just one example...

Posted October 21, 2008 07:15 PM

Janet NowellBaynes

I use natural products on a regular basis. Restricting access and prices skyrocketing would certainly cause distress for myself as I am unable to take Rx medication due to side effects and like I've always been told that taking them is a trade-off(although at times are necessary) It's about time that pharmaceutical co.'s should recognize that there are many wonderful natural products that do live up to the claims and to stop being so greedy and share the market!!

Posted November 13, 2008 08:55 PM

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