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CHPA response to new labelling requirements for homeopathic medicines for cough, cold and flu - August 6, 2015:

CHPA views the July 31, 2015 announcements by the Minister of Health and Health Canada regarding removal of health claims and indications for use for children of 12 years of age and under from homeopathic medicines for cough, cold and flu to be a very serious mistake. These labelling changes are a direct contradiction of the widespread endorsement of the use of these products by thousands of Canadian consumers and health care practitioners who have complete confidence in their safety and quality.

It is important for Canadian consumers and health care practitioners to note that homeopathic medicines sold in Canada bearing product license numbers with the prefix “DIN-HM” to clearly identify them as homeopathic products are entirely compliant with the Natural Health Product Regulations. The product formulations and labelling of these homeopathic products, including indications for use in relieving symptoms of cough, cold and flu (influenza) have been reviewed by Health Canada in order to issue the product license.

CHPA knows of no evidence of health risk to substantiate the new labelling requirements for these products. Homeopathic medicines have been regulated by Health Canada as non-prescription drug products since 1990 and as a sub-category of natural health products since 2004. Health Canada has recognized the very high level of safety of homeopathic medicines. Homeopathic medicines have decades of history of safe use in Canada, with virtually no history of adverse events associated with their administration to children. For many Canadian families, “homeopathic” is synonymous with “safe”.

Health Canada’s media releases include the statement:

“Current labelling on some homeopathic products may not provide Canadians with the information they need to make informed choices.”

CHPA is of the view that removal of claims and indications for use from labels of homeopathic products for cough, cold is inconsistent with the objective of informed choice on the part of parents of children 12 and under. CHPA knows of no evidence of consumer concerns about how homeopathic medicines are currently labelled.

CHPA also objects to Health Canada having released this policy decision without any prior consultations with CHPA, health care practitioner associations, consumer associations and other stakeholder organizations whose views are normally sought in a transparent consultation process. There are alternatives to this policy decision to enhance consumer understanding and informed choice and Health Canada is obligated under the government of Canada’s Federal Regulatory Policy to take these into consideration in a transparent public consultation process.

CHPA looks forward to informed discussion with Health Canada and other stakeholder organizations with a view to reversing the decision in the interest of informed choice.

For additional information on the regulation of homeopathic medicines in Canada, click here.

Last modified: 07.31.2015
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