Consultation on the regulation of self-care products

From Health Canada

Current status: The public consultation is now closed. Thank you for your interest.

You’re invited to provide comments on proposals for a new approach to regulating self-care products in Canada.

Why

Canadians use self-care products on a daily basis to:

  • improve appearance
  • care for themselves and their families
  • maintain health and treat minor ailments

Self-care products are available directly without a prescription from your doctor and include:

  • cosmetics
  • over-the-counter drugs
  • natural health products

Self-care products are often grouped together in stores based on their intended use. They may have similar packaging with claims that they treat the same conditions. This may mislead consumers to believe that these products are all:

  • equally effective
  • following the same rules to be sold on the market

We're examining new approaches to the regulation of self-care products. These approaches will support more informed decision making.

Who

This consultation is looking for comments from:

  • the consumers who choose these products
  • health professionals
  • industry
  • all others who have an interest in this proposal

What

The purpose of this consultation is to ask for comments on our proposed approach to regulating self-care products.

Our approach will include the following 3 main proposals.

  1. Products of similar risk profiles would be treated in a similar manner.
    • This ensures that rules for bringing products to market are:
      • more consistent
      • easier to understand
  2. The federal government would review health claims based on a new definition.
    • Companies would require scientific proof to support these health claims.
  3. A risk-based approach to compliance and safety monitoring will continue.
    • This allows us to take quick action to protect consumers.

What does this mean for Canadians?

Under this approach, the label would better provide you with valuable information about the product. This includes:

  • an authorization number if:
    • we have reviewed and approved the product
    • the claim on the product is based on scientific evidence
  • a disclaimer if we have not approved the claim on the product

These proposals will ensure:

  • your continued access to a wide range of safe self-care products
  • that companies cannot deceive Canadians into thinking an unproven claim is truthful

What does this mean for industry?

A risk-based approach to compliance and safety monitoring will continue. This will allow us to take quick action so that we can continue to protect Canadians.

The proposed simplified classification of self-care products would:

  • provide more clarity and transparency to the rules for bringing products to market
  • allow review of health claims that are supported only by scientific proof
    • this means that many self-care products:
      • would not require review or approval before being sold
      • could go to market right away, and companies would notify us that the product is available for sale

When and where

The consultation will be available online between September 7 and October 24, 2016.

How to participate

The consultation document gives you information on the background and proposals being considered.

You may submit your comments by:

  • mail
  • online
  • email, in electronic files such as:
    • Microsoft Word
    • Adobe Acrobat

We will review and consider all comments received by October 24, 2016. A report on what we heard will be published online following the consultation.

Related information

Contact us

Health Canada
Health Products and Food Branch
Natural and Non-Prescription Health Products Directorate
250 Lanark Avenue, Address Locator: 2003C
Ottawa, ON  K1A 0K9

Attention: Consultations

Email: nnhpd_consultation_dpsnso@hc-sc.gc.ca

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