Natural health product regulation in Canada: Overview

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About natural health product regulations

All NHPs are regulated under the Natural Health Products Regulations, which is a separate and distinct regulatory framework from prescription drugs. NHPs are regulated in a manner appropriate for the lower-risk nature of these products which include:

  • herbal remedies
  • some sunscreens
  • vitamins and minerals

People in Canada use these products every day, to care for themselves and their families. That's why it's vital that they are safe and of high quality.

Under the regulations, companies that manufacture, package, label or import NHPs must:

  • hold valid product and site licences
  • follow good manufacturing practices (GMP) requirements

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Improving the oversight of natural health products

While NHPs are generally lower risk products, they aren't without risk.

Health Canada works continuously to create a safer marketplace for people in Canada. This includes introducing new regulatory and legislative changes to improve the safety of NHPs and respond to a changing marketplace.

In 2021, the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development completed an audit of Health Canada's NHP program and found both strengths and areas for improvement.

The audit identified the need for:

  • increased oversight of the quality of NHPs
  • greater monitoring of labels and advertising
  • improved product labelling
  • a risk-based inspection program
  • strengthened tools for compliance and enforcement

Health Canada accepted all audit recommendations and committed to addressing them.

Health Canada identified key initiatives for the NHP program:

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