Science Advisory Committee for Health Products Containing Cannabis - Nomination call for members
To support nominees in managing the measures put in place to address the COVID-19 pandemic, Health Canada is extending the application deadline. Nominations must now be received by May 11th, 2020. In addition, Health Canada is considering options for the delay of the Committee’s first in-person meeting or moving towards virtual meetings. Further details will be shared when possible.
February 27, 2020
As part of the development of the Cannabis Regulations in 2018, Health Canada committed to holding consultations regarding a potential approach for non-prescription health products containing cannabis. This consultation was launched on June 19, 2019 and closed on September 3, 2019.
The purpose of this consultation was to seek feedback from Canadians, as well as the cannabis and health products industries, regarding the kinds of products they would be interested in manufacturing, selling or purchasing, should a legal pathway to market for these products be established. As part of this consultation, the Department made a commitment to seek external scientific advice regarding the appropriate evidence standards for non-prescription health products containing cannabis.
Health Canada is establishing a new Science Advisory Committee for Health Products Containing Cannabis (referred to in this document as “the Committee”) which will provide independent scientific and clinical advice to support the Department’s consideration of appropriate safety, efficacy, and quality standards for health products containing cannabis, including the conditions under which these products would be suitable to be used without practitioner oversight (e.g., dose and indication).
The Committee will review available evidence regarding the use of cannabis and health products containing cannabis, address specific scientific questions, review current and emerging scientific and clinical issues, and provide evidence-based advice to help inform a potential regulatory path forward.
The focus will be on providing evidence-based advice and guidance on scientific and clinical issues related to health products containing cannabis intended for human use. A sub-committee will also be formed to specifically address issues related to health products containing cannabis intended for animal use.
Issues for the Committee to consider could include:
- The state and level of evidence regarding the safety, efficacy and quality of cannabis, including specific phytocannabinoids such as THC or CBD, when used for therapeutic purposes. This includes advice regarding any factors, specific to cannabis, that Health Canada should consider when reviewing the benefits, harms and uncertainties of therapeutic cannabis use. Relevant information includes the current regulatory framework for health products, the safety profile of existing non-prescription products and natural health products, and all available pre-clinical and clinical evidence such as the scientific literature, real-world evidence, evidence related to currently approved health products containing cannabis and data received directly through a submission or application to Health Canada;
- Information that should be considered during Health Canada’s review of whether a product is suitable to be used without practitioner oversight, and advice on how to address any gaps in that information;
- Any factors, specific to cannabis, that should be considered when determining evidence-based dosage thresholds and conditions of use for specific phytocannabinoids, such as THC or CBD, when used without practitioner oversight; and,
- Information regarding the priorities of the research and medical community with respect to potential therapeutic uses of specific phytocannabinoids, such as THC or CBD.
In striking this committee, Health Canada is seeking membership from experts with a wide range of knowledge and experience. In addition, Health Canada is seeking representation of Canadians with lived experience as a patient who uses cannabis for medical purposes or health products containing cannabis.
Nominees should have current expertise that may include, but not be limited to areas such as:
- Cannabis and drug research
- Medicine or prescribing practice
- Pediatric medicine
- Geriatric medicine
- Substance use and dependence
- Pharmacology and toxicology
- Biostatistics and the analysis of data resources
- Pain and/or sleep research
- Health law and policy
- Veterinary medicine
- Other expertise relevant to the mandate of the committee
Health Canada will also consider members’ expertise working with at-risk populations, such as pregnant or breastfeeding women, children, or other sub-populations.
Patient representatives will be selected based on their first-hand personal experience using cannabis or health products containing cannabis, as well as any experience working in similar committee structures.
Health Canada is seeking nominations (including self-nominations) for 8 to 12 core members of the Committee, as well as for ad hoc members. Core members will be permanent members for the duration of their terms (minimum of one year), which may be extended for additional terms based on Health Canada’s needs and the members’ availability and willingness to continue their membership. Ad hoc members will be invited to serve for a specific topic or group of topics. All advisory body members serve on a volunteer basis.
Health Canada will appoint core and ad hoc members from among the nominees, following a review by a selection committee. An external conflict of interest expert will advise the selection committee. The selection committee will be composed of Government of Canada staff with expertise in science and may include:
- Director General of the Natural and Non-Prescription Health Products Directorate
- Director General of the Therapeutic Products Directorate
- Director General of the Veterinary Drugs Directorate
- Director General of the Policy Planning and International Affairs Directorate
- Senior Medical Advisor to the Health Products and Food Branch
- Representatives from the Office of the Chief Science Advisor to Health Canada
- Senior officials of the Controlled Substances and Cannabis Branch.
Additional information for potential members:
- The core committee will meet or hold teleconferences a minimum of three times, and the first meeting is expected to be held by summer 2020.
- A sub-committee will be established to consider health products containing cannabis intended for animal use.
- Ad hoc working groups may be established to provide advice on a specific topic or group of topics.
- Members will be reimbursed for expenses incurred during their work on the Committee, such as for travel and accommodation, according to Treasury Board's Directive on Travel, Hospitality, Conference and Event Expenditures.
- All members serve on the Committee on a volunteer basis. In keeping with the Treasury Board’s “Policy on Legal Assistance and Indemnification” members are eligible for the same protection against personal civil liability as federal employees when faced with comparable risks while acting within the mandate of the Committee and serving as volunteers.
- To be considered for appointment, all members must undergo government security clearance, provide a short biography, sign a Confidentiality Agreement, and provide a declaration of their affiliations and interests. A summary of the affiliations and interests declarations and biographies will be posted to Health Canada's website.
- Additional information on how the Committee will be selected and its functioning can be found in the Terms of Reference and the Health Canada Policy on External Advisory Bodies.
Nominations should contain the following information:
- Contact information
- Area(s) of expertise
- A statement indicating whether the individual would be interested in serving as a core member of the Committee, the sub-committee on animal use, or an ad hoc member
- Rationale (no longer than 500 words)
- A declaration of affiliations and interests
- A current Curriculum Vitae
In accordance with the Privacy Act, all personal information collected will be protected and treated according to Government of Canada records management standards.
Nominations must be received by May 11, 2020
To submit a nomination, receive a copy of the draft Terms of Reference or for any questions, please contact us at:
Science Advisory Committee for Health Products Containing Cannabis Secretariat
Policy Planning and International Affairs Directorate
250 Lanark Avenue
Mail Stop 2005A
Or via email: email@example.com
Thank you for your interest in this important initiative.
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