Flu nosode

Health Canada does not recommend use of nosodes in children. (CBC)

Homeopathic products promoted to parents will need to be clear they are not vaccines or alternatives to vaccines, Health Canada says.

The department announced Friday it is introducing label changes for certain homeopathic products.

Nosodes are ultradiluted forms of diseased tissue, pus, blood, or excretions from a sick person or animal that some homeopaths and naturopaths sell, often in a pellet form.

The new statement for nosode products is required to be: "This product is neither a vaccine nor an alternative to vaccination. This product has not been proven to prevent infection. Health Canada does not recommend its use in children and advises that your child receive all routine vaccinations."

Health Canada said it will also no longer allow companies to make specific health claims on homeopathic products for cough, cold, and flu for children 12 and under, unless those claims are supported by scientific evidence.

In November 2014, a CBC Marketplace investigation found that some alternative health practitioners offered nosodes as vaccine "alternatives" to parents.

Several homeopaths stated that the alternatives were as or more effective than traditional vaccines. 

While Health Canada required nosodes to include warning labels that nosodes are not a proven alternative to vaccines, Marketplace discovered that this warning did not apply to preparations prepared by homeopaths as part of a practitioner-patient relationship.

In May, the Canadian Paediatric Society called on Health Canada to change the labels and launch a public education campaign on the risks of nosodes as a vaccine replacement.

separate investigation by Marketplace revealed how little scientific evidence is required by Health Canada to license homeopathic remedies. Marketplace created a children's fever and pain remedy called Nighton, which claimed to provide "effective relief from fever, pain, and inflammation" for children and infants. Health Canada granted a license to sell the product, despite no scientific proof that the product works.

In a statement, Health Minister Rona Ambrose said to date, 121 nosode products and 139 homeopathic products for cough, cold and flu for children under 12 have been authorized for sale in Canada. All of those products will be included in the scope of the labelling changes.

Nosode makers will have until January 2016 to comply with the changes.