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CHFA Responds to La Presse Series on NHPs

On February 18, 2014

The Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) has a significantly different perspective on the topics that were covered in Marie-Claude Malboeuf’s series on natural health products published on La Presse+. Our main concern is that these articles inappropriately and unfairly ignore the wide margin of safety for approved natural health products in Canada.  In our opinion, the articles oversimplify the data and draw inaccurate, misleading and overly alarming conclusions related to adverse reactions, as well as product safety and effectiveness. As stated on Health Canada’s website, it is inappropriate to use the Canada Vigilance Adverse Reaction Online Database to determine safety, or for estimating risk of a particular product, as neither the total number of reactions occurring, nor the number of patients exposed to the natural health product, is known. Furthermore, no mention was made to the multiple factors that could have also influenced the reporting, such as another underlying condition or disease, an unidentified interaction, misuse of the product or another coincidental factor. Canadians can feel confident as our country has one of the most advanced regulatory frameworks for natural health products in the world.  As the responsible body, Health Canada has established guidelines and monitoring practices to minimize and/or eliminate occurrences of substandard or wrong ingredients finding a way into NHPs authorized for sale in Canada. Before being licensed for sale in Canada, the Natural Health Products Regulations require that all finished products meet the established parameters for their individual product requirements, which is often done by a recognized analytical laboratory.