MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.

Health Canada is a government agency responsible for helping Canadians maintain and improve their health. It ensures that high-quality health services are accessible, and works to reduce health risks. Health Canada regulates consumer health products that are sold directly to consumers and do not require a prescription or the oversight of a health care professional. In the past, Health Canada has approved more than 8,500 homeopathic products. A recent survey by Health Canada showed that 11% of parents and guardians believe that alternative practices such as homeopathy or naturopathy can replace vaccines.

Now, Health Canada is proposing changes to the labelling and evidence requirements for homeopathic products, as part of the proposed guidance document: Labelling Requirements for Natural Health Products. These changes would require that all homeopathic products that are sold over the counter include on the front panel of their label the statement “This claim is based on traditional homeopathic references and not modern scientific evidence.” Health Canada is also consulting on the introduction of risk-based evidence standards for homeopathic products, which would align requirements with those of other natural health products. The public consultation opens June 26, 2021 and closes September 4, 2021. For more information on how to participate, visit Consultation – Proposed Amendments to the Natural Health Products Regulations.

I hope you agree with me that it might be worth participating in this public consultation with a view of preventing regulations that could open the door to quackery in Canada. So, please do have a look at the documents and make sure that Canadian consumers are adequately protected.

12 Responses to Health Canada: “Evidence for Homeopathic Medicines” (a public consultation)

  • Oncology guideline: Evidence level 2b for homeopathy

    In the new S3 guideline for complementary medicine in the treatment of oncological patients, homeopathy is certified as evidence level 2b by the AWMF, the working group of the scientific medical societies. The 155 recommendations and statements were developed under the leadership of the German Cancer Society (DKG), the German Society for Hematology and Medical Oncology, the German Society for Gynecology and Obstetrics and the German Society for Radiation Oncology. “In the guideline, the most important complementary and alternative medicine methods, procedures and substances that are used or offered to patients are evaluated according to the criteria of evidence-based medicine,” explains the German Cancer Society on July 26, 2021 in a press release. The evidence-based guideline is divided into four thematic blocks • Medical systems • Mind-body procedures • Manipulative body therapies • Biological therapies. The following were added to the block of medical systems: acupuncture, acupressure, anthroposophic medicine, homeopathy and the classic naturopathic methods.

    Strongly positive results of the homeopathy study

    In the field of homeopathy, many studies were found to be of poor quality, such as small case numbers. The study by Frass et. al. * from 2015 was able to convince the scientists: “There are data from an RCT on the use of classic homeopathy. … due to the very positive results of this study, the use of classical homeopathy (initial anamnesis in combination with individual prescription of medication) to improve the quality of life in oncological patients in addition to tumor therapy can be considered ”, says the guideline. The processing of the evidence on homeopathy was carried out by the scientists at the Jena University Hospital under the direction of Prof. Dr. Jutta Hübner (DKG) – a staunch opponent of homeopathy.

    • you know, of course, that Frass’ latest study of homeopathy for cancer is under investigation.?
      you also know that Frass is a member of my ‘HALL OF FAME’?
      https://edzardernst.com/2015/11/prof-frass-remarkable-studies-of-homeopathy/
      and you know that Frass has been shown to have made ‘errors’ in previous research?
      https://edzardernst.com/2021/03/a-truly-perplexing-homeopath-is-it-time-for-an-official-investigation/

      • Glad to KNOW that you consider Frass guilty without evidence. “How convenient.”

        • I think you might be guilty here of unfounded assumptions: I did no such thing.

        • Oh deary me, Dana. Are you making 2+2=potato again? Just because you’ve imagined something, it doesn’t become a fact. Mind you, we know what you consider to be evidence.

          • Does Dana even know what numbers and elementary arithmetic and vegetables are? Given his numerous strange answers in this block, I doubt it. 😉

        • Just a short reminder:
          In earlier discussions on this blog we found out:

          – Dana Ullman is unable to point out any difference between the results of NHMRC, that he criticises, and those of RT Mathie, member of the Homeopathy Research Institute, which seem to meet his expectations.
          – Dana Ullman is unable to name any indication in the NHMRC review where the result would be different, when what he considers “faults” were not in place.
          – Dana Ullman is unable to specify the difference between the result of NHMRC and this rejected draft of a consultant with regard to solid evidence.

          And of course, Dana Ullman is unable to identify any lab that would be able to distinguish between what he calls “homeopathic water” and “water”.

          And from the last discussion we have

          – Dana Ulman is unable to explain the basics of his idea of how homeopathy works, namely how “resonance” could be triggered by homeopathic preparations and how this is to affect the patient.

          • I notice that Mr Ullman ignores these questions.

            Perhaps he ought not to post anything else on this blog until he does.

            I was surprised by his supposition in the other thread that people are ignorant of the phenomenon of resonance.

            Like Mr Ullman, I completely lack any qualification whatever in medicine or medical science. But resonance is a thing that is taught in any high school science/physics course. The concept is standard high school knowledge, not esoteric PhD physics. That’s not to say, of course, that it can’t be studied at those levels, but as a basic concept it should be familiar to anyone with a decent high school education. It’s a shame that Mr. Ullman seems to think otherwise.

    • you seem to have missed that homeopathy got the lowest possible level of recommendation and that many caveats were mentioned in the text.

      • @Edzard

        you seem to have missed that homeopathy got the lowest possible level of recommendation and that many caveats were mentioned in the text.

        Which is exactly what homeopathy is all about: start with a core ingredient, dilute it until there’s nothing left, ignore everything that detracts from the desired outcome, and triumphantly claim that you succeeded in producing the highly potent essence of said ingredient – which, in this case, appears to be a positive recommendation for the use of homeopathy. Well done, that man.

    • Herr Hümmer, you know the comments of the INH on this matter (in German: https://netzwerk-homoeopathie.info/homoeopathie-in-der-leitlinie-komplementaermedizin/)

      In short: Homeopathy is generally heavily promoted to heal or at least improve cancer and the side-effects of conventional cancer treatment. And this guideline is dedicated especially on the use of so-called alternative and complementary medicine in that field. It covers more than 600 pages reviewing the evidence and conclude recommentations. It covers 32 issues with cancer and cancer treatment and how they may be managed with these alternative or adjunct treatments. Like anxiety, pain, cerebral edema and so on. You would expect that homeopathy would occur extensively if the claims by the proponents of homeopathy were warranted.

      In contrast homeopathy is mentioned only once, namely that it “could be considered to be applied with regard to quality of life”. Which is the lowest level of recommendation. And in quality of life only, nowhere in treatment or omprovement of clinical conditions. That is all. Nowhere else the authors of this guideline, including some hardcore defenders of homeopathy mention that hoemeopathy should even be considered to be applied.

      If this is a success for homeopathy, how on earth do failures look like?

      As you know German I want to quote Wilhelm Busch (1832 – 1908):

      Wenn einer, der mit Mühe kaum,
      gekrochen ist auf einen Baum,
      schon meint, dass er ein Vogel wär,
      so irrt sich der.

      (Something like:
      If someone, who barely maged
      to climb a tree
      believes himself to be a bird
      he errs).

      You may find Busch’s own illustration to that short verse here: https://netzwerk-homoeopathie.info/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Bild_2021-07-30_211030.png

  • “This claim is based on traditional homeopathic references and not modern scientific evidence.”

    In this Canada provides a very good lead to follow. British regulators please take note.

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