Tag Archives: pharmaceutical

Canada’s War on Drugs…and Vitamins

On April 8, 2008, Canada’s federal government tabled bill Bill C-51.

Health Minister, Tony Clement says that Bill C-51 is designed to “modernize the Food and Drugs Act”.

Furthermore, the Bill “proposes to maintain a rigorous assessment of health products prior to making them available. In addition, we’re proposing to gain the ability to continuously monitor the safety of products even after they are approved”.

Sounds good.

Don’t want any tainted vitamins, herbs, etc, getting into the marketplace. And if they do, the government has taken the power and responsibility of recall from the manufacturers and given it to themselves.

So, essentially what the government is doing is asking the natural health product industry to prove that their products will do no harm. Once proven, manufacturers will be able to make claims of efficacy like the pharmaceutical industry.

This may even improve the business model for nutritional supplements in Canada. Vetted health claims might increase the legitimacy of the industry in the public’s eye. And yet, something doesn’t seem right with this piece of legislation.

Here is my problem with Bill C-51.

  • What are they protecting us from?
  • In 2006, the U.S. reported one death associated with the ingestion of vitamins. An unknown vitamin & it was reported that while the vitamin played a part, it was unlikely that it was the cause of death. How they would know that if the vitamin was unknown, I will never know.
  • Compare that to the 2006 data for Pharmaceutical deaths. The full report is here.
  • Pharmaceutical Categories associated with largest number of fatalities (Top 25)
  • Deaths – Substance
    382- Sedative/hypnotics/antipsychotics
    307 – Opioids
    252 – Cardiovascular drugs
    214 – Acetaminophen in combination
    210 – Antidepressants
    203 – Stimulants and street drugs
    139 – Alcohols
    138 – Acetaminophen only
    98 – Muscle relaxants
    93 – Anticonvulsants
    75 – Cyclic antidepressants
    69 – Fumes/gases/vapors
    66 – Antihistamines
    61 – Aspirin alone
    55 – Other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
    49 – Unknown drug
    38 – Chemicals
    35 – Oral hypoglycemics
    27 – Miscellaneous drugs
    25 – Diuretics
    25 – Automotive/aircraft/boat products
    22 – Antihistamine/decongestant, without phenylpropanolamine
    20 – Hormones and hormone antagonists
    18- Anticoagulants

Vitamins – 1 death

Aspirin & Acetaminophen – 199 deaths

As far as I am concerned, that should be the end of the story. The government has no business creating a problem where none exists.

Fin

For those of you who want more, here are some interesting links.

video of an anti Bill C-51 rally

Health Minister, Tony Clement’s press conference to discuss Bill C-51

article in the Globe and Mail

article in the Vancouver Sun

The (CHFA) Canadian Health Food Association’s submission to the House of Commons.

article by Andre Picard, Globe and Mail

CHFA response to Picard article

my fitness site

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