This article was authored by Klaus Ferlow, HMH (Honorary Master Herbalist), innovator, lecturer, researcher, writer, founder Ferlow Botanical Enterprises Ltd, Vancouver, B.C. manufacturing/distributing organic toxin-free medicinal herbal and personal care products to professional health & wellness practitioners in Canada and parts of USA since 1993.
Traditional medicine, which prevents disease by determining the cause of the imbalance has been used for centuries. Ayurvedic Medicine from India and Traditional Chinese Medicine has a history of thousands of years as does Aboriginal Medicine (medicine man). According to Chris Kilham, the medicine hunter, over five billion people around the globe are using herbal remedies for healing. www.medicinehunter.com
More people today visit holistic practitioners than allopathic (conventional) doctors because they have lost confidence in the system that only treats the symptoms and not the cause of the disease. The latest survey showed that 71% of Canadians, that is a total of 22.452.000 regularly use vitamins, minerals, herbal products, homeopathy and the like. The pharmaceutical industry has watched this trend over the years and influenced Health Canada to come up with some rules and regulations under the former Health Minister Alan Rock of the Liberal government as early as 1997. The motion was defeated due to an injunction by some very knowledgeable individuals form the natural health industry. However, Health Canada came back six years ago with the argument, that the public wanted natural health products to be regulated to ensure their safety and efficacy.
After Health Canada had set-up their new Agency, The Natural Health Product Directorate, which required hiring hundreds of civil servants, I asked their officials at one of their hearing how much this measure would in the end cost the Natural Health Product industry, there was absolute silence.
Natural health products were always regulated under "food" and there they should stay, but some stakeholders agreed to put it into a third category and later the government put it as a sub-category of drugs! The new rules and regulations started January 1, 2004 and they have now a backlog of 2 1/2 years for processing applications (so far they have received only 1/3 of the estimated 50.000 Natural Health Products available) for Natural Health Products (NPN). Finally they came out of the closet, asking the health industry to pay 3610.00 initially for each product with mulit-ingredients and $ 1.810.00 for single ingredients applications and $ 920.00 for each product every year afterwards and gave us only a very short time to respond...by May 15, then they extended it to an unspecified date due to the pressure from the Natural Health Product industry. As a result, the cost of doing business for small and medium sized companies will drastically increase, product margins will decrease, retail prices will dramatically increase to a point that many people won't be able to afford them anymore, product innovation has already slowed down due to the uncertainty and will decline, product quality will be compromised and access to products drastically reduced. Basically it puts small and medium sized companies on "death row" and many of them, if not all, will go under and with them thousands of safe, natural health products that consumers have relied on for many years.
Our Health Care system is on the brink of collapsing since it cannot financially be sustained as Rafe Mair, former Health Minister in the B.C. government wrote in one of his articles in the spring 2007 issue of the Health Action Magazine: "The Verdict is In! Canada's Health Care is Broken. We moved so far from the original intent of Medicare that we have forgotten what it should be."
Is this what the public wants? If not, than get involved. Call your local MP, sign petitions in health food stores, tell your relatives, friends, neighbours, colleges and ACT NOW, voice your opposition, and write, fax or email letters to Health Canada.
I shall close with these wise words of wisdom by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr."
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
You can send your letters, Fax and emails to...Health Canada, Brooke Laxton Building, Tunney's Pasture, Postal Locator 0906C, Ottawa, ON, K1A 0K9 Fax: 613-952-1154, no postage stamp needed.
Email address for Tony Clement, Health Minister: Minister_Ministre@dhc-sc.gc.ca or the Deputy Health Minister: firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information on this subject, please contact these websites: