Natural health product regulation in Canada: Protecting Canadians from Unsafe Drugs Act (Vanessa’s Law)

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Extending the Protecting Canadians from Unsafe Drugs Act to natural health products

While NHPs are generally lower risk products, that does not mean they are without risk.

Health Canada has seen serious non-compliance that could be harmful to consumers such as product contamination and the presence of ingredients not listed on the label.

In June 2023, the Government of Canada passed legislation that amends the Food and Drugs Act (FDA), extending the authorities under the Protecting Canadians from Unsafe Drugs Act (Vanessa's Law) to NHPs. This allows Health Canada to take more action if a serious or imminent risk to health is identified with an NHP. An example of a serious or imminent risk is a product being contaminated with toxic elements, such as mold, lead or E. coli. Health Canada can now order a recall of a product or add warnings to support its safe use, if necessary, which it couldn't do before.

These authorities for NHPs are consistent with other health products regulated under the FDA.

Key authorities that come into effect immediately

A number of key authorities in the Food and Drugs Act came into force immediately for natural health products. These key authorities allow Health Canada to:

It is important to note:

Regulations will be required before the coming into force of the remaining authorities which allow Health Canada to:

We will consult with stakeholders to determine when and how these regulations would come into force.

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