No double standards for natural health products

Natural health products and medicinal foods should be subject to the same regulations as pharmaceutical drugs to ensure safety and efficacy, states an editorial in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

While are subject to rigorous evaluation and must provide significant evidence of their therapeutic effects and that the benefits outweigh risks, natural health products in Canada are not. Many contain active pharmacological substances that can have potent effects and interactions which should have warnings.

"The multibillion-dollar natural health products industry sells the perception that because its products are "natural," they must also be safe, such that comprehensive testing like that required for pharmaceuticals is not required," write guest author Dr. Stuart MacLeod with editor Dr. Matthew Stanbrook and colleagues. "However, it is a near-universal truth that any substance that exerts a beneficial effect on a biological system will also have the potential for adverse effects."

Health Canada created the Natural Health Products Directorate 10 years ago, but the regulatory framework that governs it does not protect the consumer.

"All health claims for any product should be subject to a common set of regulations, starting with consistent and easily understood standards of evidence proportional to health risks and benefits," conclude the authors.

"Uniform regulations are the best way to protect consumers while still allowing choice."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Report: Combination of health goods risky

Jul 22, 2007

A study in Canada has found the health industry has not adequately recognized the danger of pairing natural health products with prescription medication.

Recommended for you

Study reveals state of crisis in Canadian foster care system

12 hours ago

A new study of foster care in Canada led by a researcher at Western University reveals a shrinking number of foster care providers are available across the country to care for a growing number of children with increasingly ...

Researchers prove the benefits of persimmons for diet

13 hours ago

Alba Mir and Ana Domingo, researchers from the Department of Analytical Chemistry of the University of Valencia, under the supervision of professors Miguel de la Guardia and Maria Luisa Cervera, from the same department, ...

Hand blenders used for cooking can emit persistent chemicals

13 hours ago

Eight out of twelve tested models of hand blenders are leaking chlorinated paraffins when used according to the suppliers' instructions. This is revealed in a report from Stockholm University where researchers analyzed a ...

User comments