First it was the Australians who made life more difficult for homeopaths; then the FDA announced that they plan to have a critical look at homeopathy. Now the Canadians have joined in with the other regulators getting concerned about the most overt abuses of medical evidence and ethics by manufacturers of homeopathic products. Here is a statement that was just published on the labelling of some Canadian homeopathic remedies:
Health Canada is advising consumers that it is introducing label changes for certain homeopathic products that fall under the Natural Health Product Regulations (NHPR). Current labelling on some homeopathic products may not provide Canadians with the information they need to make informed choices. The changes apply to the labelling of some homeopathic products, specifically nosode products as well as homeopathic cough, cold and flu products for children 12 and under.
The Department is introducing these changes to ensure that Canadians who choose to use homeopathic products have the information they need to improve their safe use, especially parents trying to make the best choices for their children.
Health Canada is requesting the addition of statements on homeopathic nosode products to make it clear that they are not vaccines or alternatives to vaccines to improve the safe use of these products.
Companies of nosode products have been asked to comply with these changes by January 2016. The new statement for nosode products is: “This product is neither a vaccine nor an alternative to vaccination. This product has not been proven to prevent infection. Health Canada does not recommend its use in children and advises that your child receive all routine vaccinations.”
In addition, Health Canada is no longer allowing companies to make specific health claims on homeopathic products for cough, cold, and flu for children 12 and under, unless those claims are supported by scientific evidence.
Companies have been asked to comply with this new labelling change by July 2016.
For more information about the labelling requirements for homeopathic products, consult the Health Canada Web site.
Health Canada reminds Canadians of the importance of vaccinations, to protect themselves, their families, and communities by ensuring their vaccinations are up to date. Immunization saves lives. The World Health Organization estimates immunization prevents between 2-3 million deaths every year.
Not nearly enough, some will say. But even they will have to admit that this is yet another (small) step in the right direction. I wonder when the UK authorities will do something similar (perhaps when Prince Charles is on summer vacation?).