On February 18, 2019 Health Canada released a MedEffect Notice advising that children under the age of 18 should not be consuming cough and cold products containing opioids. The products in question contain codeine, hydrocodone and normethadone.
A safety review of these products has found that people who use opioids during childhood have an increased likelihood of problematic substance use later in life. This review comes on the heels of a similar FDA study in the United States which advised against opioid use in children. The FDA advisory went so far as to say that these drugs do more harm than good, a tune the natural and alternative health communities have been singing for generations.
Despite the evidence indicating that opioids are not effective in treating cough and cold in children, and that in fact there is still no cure for the common cold, these products will remain available on the shelf for adult self-treatment and purchase. While Health Canada strangles the accessibility of natural health products at every opportunity, opioid-containing drugs will remain on the shelf for anyone walking into a drugstore to purchase. Despite the rampant drug addiction growing all over the country, the regulatory body meant to protect citizens would rather see citizens using opioids than a natural plant-based supplement.
Unsurprisingly, the Health Canada notice does not mention the myriad safe natural options for preventing, managing and healing from the symptoms of a cough or cold. Everyday nutrients like Vitamin C and Zinc are colloquial options for immune support during times of minor illness. Natural health retailers offer remedies from homeopathic, to aromatherapy, to herbal, and more. The risks carried by these therapeutic options are negligible, and all of these options are accessible to children without the threat of later substance abuse problems contributing to national health crises.
In this Discussion Paper, Shawn Buckley outlines why Health Canada sides with the deep pockets of the drug industry, and the importance of preventing non-proprietary NHPs from being regulated by the same financially burdensome policies as non-prescription drugs.
Read the Summary Safety Review