Natural Health Product (NHPs) are regulated
federally by Health Canada under the Food and Drugs Act. Health Canada claims
that these products are safe and of good quality and to a degree confirms that
medicinal claims are verified. However, there is a policy issue as to whether
the extent to which medicinal claims are confirmed is something the government
should be concerned with due to NHPs becoming increasingly popular with an
increase in those looking for alternative and preventative treatment methods.

The two federal policies that are outlined in
this paper are Canada’s Natural Health Product Regulations and the United
States’ (U.S.) dietary supplement regulation. These jurisdictions have extremely
different regulations and take differing approaches to regulating these types
of products. Canada regulates their NPHs more closely by starting with the
proposition that they are drugs or akin to drugs and thus they require DNA
barcoding and clinical based trials, though the reality is that these products
do not have to have a large amount of evidence backing them. In the U.S.,
dietary supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration nor
are they allowed to make claims about their benefits. Canada’s policies must
adapt and change to ensure customers are more informed about their purchases. This
paper examines the current regulations of NHPs and poses suggestions such as greater
product purity testing for active ingredients and development guidelines that
they must be regulated as drugs which would include appropriate testing and
clinical trials to ensure consumer safety and that high-quality products with
proven benefits are provided to them. 

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