The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point

No regulatory double standard for natural health products

That’s the editorial position of the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Here’s their reasoning.

Many consumers believe that natural health products are effective and safer than prescription drugs.

But there is a double standard.

  • Pharmaceutical companies must provide extensive evidence that its product makes a quantifiable difference in a health condition and that the benefits outweigh the risks.
  • The same degree of scrutiny is not applied to natural health products or medicinal foods.
  • The multibillion-dollar natural health products industry sells the perception that because its products are “natural,” they must also be safe.
  • Creating special categories for natural health products or medicinal foods is not the solution.
  • Rather, all health claims for any product should be subject to a common set of regulations, starting with consistent and easily understood standards of evidence proportional to health risks and benefits.

The bottom line?

According to the authors, “all health claims for any product should be subject to a common set of regulations, starting with consistent and easily understood standards of evidence proportional to health risks and benefits.”

Some will argue that only pharmaceutical companies can afford the cost of extensive documentation. But the health of our citizens is at stake. So, why do we permit less of the natural health product manufacturers?

11/16/11 21:13 JR

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