Natural Health Products: How It Affects the Economy

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Herbalism is what we commonly known as Natural remedies or the use of plants or plant extracts to treat or prevent several ailments. It is believed that this way of dealing with diseases will eventually lead and be the basis of future medical practices. The core of herbalism is based on the practice of natural sources as means of medication.

According to one of the editorial in Canada’s leading medical journal, natural vitamins, supplements and other natural health products should also be subjected to the same level of analysis as drugs as to protect the consumers as the top goal. The editorial, published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, contradicts the idea that vitamins, herbal remedies and similar products are safer than conventional drugs merely because they are natural. “The fact that’s it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s safe and it doesn’t mean it’s effective,” said Matthew Stanbrook, one of the authors of the editorial and deputy editor for scientific content at the journal. Unlike drugs, there is lesser pressure being posted in natural health products; limited evidence already permits approval says the authors. T he regulatory system for NHPs “has permitted products . . . to be marketed with limited content labelling, poorly documented health benefits and little or no safety data.”

Vitamins and the rest of these natural products are being regulated separately by the Health Canada’s Natural Health Products Directorate. Dispenses will allowed as long as the natural health products can show scientific evidences of its effectiveness or by just being continuously and traditionally used by the consumers in more than 50 years. However, drug manufacturers spend not only more money but more efforts through rigid clinical trials to provide the regulators with accurate and complete information on the safety, effectiveness and efficacy of newly produced drugs before it can reach the market.

The main problem exists due to the fact that the longevity of the usage the said natural medications doesn’t prove how effective and safe it is.  “If you’re going to make a health claim about a product you’re marketing, then it should meet the same standards [as drugs],” Dr. Stanbrook said. They claim that the regulation procedures should be set in a tighter manner so that the consumers will be aware of the risks that can be posts by the drugs in general.

Because of the Health Canada previous accumulated approval process, there are still many natural health products that are on the market that are not yet approved by the federal officials, argued by the health experts. Even so, Helen Sherrard, president of the Canadian Health Food Association, said “the system strikes a balance between good regulation and access to products consumers want, labels about a product’s ingredients and other important information, and companies that adhere to good manufacturing practices.”“I think the regulatory process as it stands today is for the most part working,” she added.

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