Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Bill C-51: Feds and Big Pharma to Kill Natural Health Products

by Steve da Silva
Basics Issue #9 (May 2008)

A recent survey shows that 70% of Canadians regularly take some form of natural health products (NHPs). In recent years, more Canadians have been turning to natural remedies for conditions and diseases that they could not resolve through drugs, and this had cut into the profits of the pharmaceutical industry. It is precisely for this reason the natural health industry is facing a serious attack by pharmaceutical companies and their puppets in Parliament.

On April 8, 2008, the Canadian Minister of Health Tony Clement introduced Bill C-51, which proposes significant changes to the Food and Drugs Act which will all but ban most natural health products (NHPs). NHPs, such as olive leaf extract or Echinacea, will be put under such strict licensing requirements that most will not pass and thus will be made illegal. The Natural Health Products Protection Association (NHPPA) of Canada has said that “it is expected that 75% of current NHPs will become illegal under this new system”. Most natural health and natural food stores will be driven out of business. Go into any natural food store in your area, like Noah’s, and just ask them.

If Bill C-51 becomes the law, possessing banned NHPs may result in fines up to $5,000,000 or jail up to two years.

While the law is being passed justified to protect Canadians from health risks, new regulations are also being implemented that will fast-track new pharmaceutical drugs onto the market.
How many times have you heard of a person experiencing detrimental if not fatal reactions resulting from overdosing or combining drugs? How often do drugs resolve one symptom of an illness only to give rise to a host of others? We have all heard these stories, if not had them happen to ourselves.

Now, how many times have you heard someone overdosing on ginseng, or having a fatal reaction from combining their garlic extract with their acidophilus? The NHPPA points out that “there has never been a death in Canada caused by a natural health product.”

Bill C-51 defies all reason when it comes to the health of Canadians. But the health of Canadians is not what the government and big business is after. They are after profits, plain and simple; and pushing drugs down the throats of people who don’t need them is a great way to make profits. ∗