Shawn Buckley’s Personal Summary of a Government Evaluation on the Natural Health Products Program Nov 9/15

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Earlier this year we received an email for Shawn Buckley informing him that “The Public Health Agency of Canada was conducting an evaluation of the Natural Health Products (NHP) Program for the period of 2010 until 2015. He had been identified as “potential key informant”. As you can imagine, this was a call that Shawn was looking forward to having.

The email requested an interview with Shawn, as the representative of a key external stakeholder, NHPPA. The Office of Evaluation provided a discussion guide of the key questions that they wanted to get his opinion on.

Shawn provided a personal summary of his interview for NHPPA members.

A few excerpts:

“If we wanted to increase our access to NHPs, we would have done what the United States did in response to their consumer rebellion. The U.S. classed NHPs as food, deemed them by law to be safe, and mandated that the FDA could not remove one from the market without evidence of harm. Health Canada did the opposite. In Canada NHPs are classed as drugs (not food like in the U.S.), are deemed to be unsafe (opposite of the U.S. deeming them by law to be safe), are deemed to be ineffective, and must be removed from the market unless they succeed in getting a license from Health Canada.”

“Health Canada has taken the position that manufacturers can only repeat the label claim authorized by Health Canada in the licensing process.  Manufacturers who find themselves with truthful information that could literally save lives or lead to a tremendous reduction in suffering if shared, are prohibited from sharing it.”

“I then asked the Committee: if you let the Regulations come into force and we come back in 10 years, how many lives will the NHP Regulations have cost us? That was an unpopular question for which I have been criticized. Unfortunately it is the one question that needs to be answered. It will not be.”

“When we were done the interview they shared that these points were new to them.”

We’re interested to know what you think! If you were asked the questions outlined on the discussion guide what would you share about how the NHPP regulations have affected you or your family? Write to us at and let us know. We will collect the responses and create a page of comments provided by NHPPA members.