Natural Health Products – A Short History

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If you ever thought about buying CBD products, you may have also thought about the regulations surrounding it and other natural health products.

Natural health products are usually substances like herbal medicines, vitamins, probiotics, traditional medicines, and other such things. However, some countries might have different regulations regarding these substances, seeing them as drugs. In European Union countries, for instance, they tend to be seen as drugs by multiple people. Over the years, though, there has been a growing interest in natural health products and many people use them regularly.

There’s a short history behind their use, though, and here are some relevant things.

  • A Review of Natural Health Products

In 1997, an announcement was made by the Canadian Minister of Health, mentioning how there is going to be a review of the legal regime that governs NHPs. The intention was to create some balance between the freedom of choice of Canadians regarding NHPs.

So, from 1997 to 1998, multiple parties both in Canada and other countries were consulted by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health. More than 150 people, coalitions and associations responded. As such, the Committee started working on recommendations for a regulatory framework on NHPs.

  • Report and Transition Team

In November 1998, a report was tabled in the House of Commons by the Standing Committee on Health, named “Natural Health Products: A New Vision”. Afterward, Allan Rock, the former Minister of Health, addressed the recommendations in it pretty quickly. All 53 recommendations made by the Standing Committee have been accepted by the Government. The recommendations would serve as the start of a bigger policy framework surrounding NHPs. The Natural Health Products Directorate was also created.

Then, in 1999, the Minister of Health came out and said that a Transition Team is going to be made, and he planned to appoint 17 members for the team. This was all to set up the Directorate and the new framework much faster.

  • The Appearance of the Natural Health Products Regulations

On January 1, 2004, after many years of work and preparations, the Natural Health Products Regulation has been enforced. However, it had a period of transition. As such, there were two years for site licensing, and for licensing products that had a Drug Identification Number, there were six years.

  • New Regulations

In 2010, Health Canada had to publish the Natural Health Products (Unprocessed Product License Applications) Regulations, all due to a backlog of license applications for products. These regulations allowed exempted products without a product license to be legally sold. However, it was only possible if the particular products passed the first assessment for information and safety criteria.

Final Thoughts

Many people all over the world consume NHPs, as the regulations in their countries allow them to. There has been a long history behind their use, as people have worked for many years to make their consumption possible in safe conditions. As such, people have more freedom when it comes to what substances they want to use.

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