Saturday, May 17, 2008

Pharma Save Me

There’s been a lot of brouhaha over Bill C-51 which intends to modernize the regulatory system for foods and therapeutic products, to strengthen the oversight of the benefits and risks of therapeutic products throughout their life cycle, to support effective compliance and enforcement actions and to enable a greater transparency and openness of the regulatory system.

A lot of people use herbal and other alternative products to help manage and improve their health. Centuries of anecdotal evidence indicate that these remedies are safe and effective. Unfortunately, there isn’t any clinical evidence to support these claims.

Herbs can’t be patented like drugs so no one company can hold a monopoly on them. No monopoly means no big bucks and no big bucks means no money for clinical trials.

They say this means that a vast majority of the natural products on the market today (60 –75%) are not going to pass Bill C-51 regulations. This will make them illegal.

They’ll be taken off the market and anyone caught selling or using them is liable to find themselves facing stiff fines or even jail time.

Apparently, those that do pass would likely be put under the control of pharmaceutical companies and would be available only by prescription. Problem is that our doctors and nurses aren’t educated in natural medicine, so how or why would they ever prescribe them?

I’m all for some sort of regulation of natural products. It would be good to know that what’s on the label of a product is actually in the product and in the amounts indicated. It would be good to put a damper on all the wild claims some natural products make. And it would be good to be charged a price that’s in line with what the product is actually worth.

And, it would be most excellent if these products could undergo some clinical testing and if our doctors could be educated on natural products and incorporate them into medical practice.

Bill C-51 seems to go way over the top, though. It’s being pushed through parliament at an alarmingly fast pace. It seems to be pandering to the demands of pharmaceutical companies who are losing more and more customers to the natural products market.

Ya, some people get duped by some of these product because they’re ineffective, and/or because people don’t know enough about them to self-prescribe, but no one has ever died from a natural product, so why these heavy-handed regulations?

There’s a petition and lots of discussion and information online if you’re interested and don’t want Grandma to end up in the hoosegow for brewing peppermint tea.


Becky said...

So they're trying to outlaw folklore, history, and give the edge to the pharmaceuticals own "secret ingredients" - herbs etc. from with they extract a portion and label with a complicated name.

What's next - satellite surveillance in search of herb gardens?

Doctors and nutritionists don't believe in vitamin supplements either - just eat right.

XUP said...

Becky - Ya, it's really odd the teeth they've given to this Bill - how they can search a person's home or a naturopath's office; the wide range of stuff that's liable to be outlawed ... stuff that's been perfectly harmless for centuries.

Michele said...

Wow, I'm so glad I stopped by! Herbs and natural remedies have played a huge role in my personal healing process. If you listen to your body and do the right research/learn from the right people, old fashioned remedies and weeds that pop up in your yard can and do heal....

It's a shame to even think about this Bill. :'(

A Happy Downtowner said...

Wow! I should stock up on flax seed oil, evening primrose oil et al before they become illegal... goodness the government listen to the lobbyists then make stupid decisions sometimes. I'm like you, all for knowing what really is in that capsule of flax seed oil I'm taking but what they want to do is over the top. I'll check the link, thanks.

XUP said...

Michele - Yes, I know some people get a little crazy self-prescribing herbals and can make themselves sick, but most people are sensible and get advice from naturopaths or herbalists or even trained staff where they sell the stuff.

HD - I hope they calm down a bit and don't just sweep the whole alternative/complementary products list into the trash.

JB said...

This government has to go, and BEFORE this bill and C-10 (intended to 'regulate' the entertainment industry, specifically movies) go through would be good. No wonder Harper and his gang never want to take their crap in front of the media.

XUP said...

Ah yes, C-10. A friend of mine taken that one up with a vengence on her blog -- which is why I've kind of left it alone