The Protecting Canadians from Unsafe Drugs Act was published in November 2014 (known commonly as Vanessa’s Law). It amends the Food and Drugs Act to include new rules that increase the regulation of therapeutic products and mandates the reporting of adverse reactions by healthcare institutions. In addition, these measures intend to modify Health Canada's ability to collect post-market safety information and take action when a serious health risk is identified.
CHFA has held a strong stance in the past that natural health products (NHPs) are lower-risk products that should not be regulated like drugs. Past advocacy initiatives led to NHPs specifically being exempted from Vanessa’s Law.
As part of the Federal Budget 2023 and the continued movement of the Self-Care Framework initiative, Health Canada has proposed to amend the Food and Drugs Act to extend the use of Vanessa’s Law to natural health products, meaning the power to require information, tests or studies, to require a label change/package modification, and to recall unsafe therapeutic products.
CHFA believes that the current powers that include seizures, stop sales, cancellations and suspensions of licences to be sufficient.
CHFA believes that protecting the health and safety of Canadians is a top priority. However, we firmly believe that extending Vanessa's Law to Natural Health Products (NHPs) should not be rushed but properly studied and debated.