Is the framework for an Avro Arrow type demise of the Natural Health Products industry in Canada being laid by Bill C-6?

As part of the series on Natural Health Care products and the Bill C-6 controversy, today’s post delves a little deeper into the key elements of the growing debate.

The Honorable Leona Aglukkaq Minister of Health

Referencing the letter from Minister Leona Aglukkaq to the Senators it would appear that she is against the amendments associated with Bill C-6 as said changes would negatively impact Health Canada’s ability to protect Canadians.

Examples include amendments to clause 14(1) in which the proposed modification of the “mandatory reporting requirements according to the Minister weakens the reporting criteria under Bill C-6 by permitting industry to determine what constitutes a reportable incident.”  Or clause 16, which “would require Health Canada to provide a company with prior notification when it intends to share confidential business information,” even if only sharing basic information such as product or related model numbers.

Finally, clause 21 of this Act would require Health Canada to have a warrant to inspect an office.  This is problematic in that while having access to all other areas of a business without the need of a warrant, it is within a company’s office the Minister contends where the most pertinent information is likely to be kept.

So on one hand you have the Minister of Health pleading for the removal of amendments that in its opinion limits its ability to act in the best interests of the public.  In other words Health Canada is basically saying that Bill C-6 doesn’t give it enough arbitrary power to act.

On the other hand, and according to the “Discussion Paper” from the NHPPA site, even though Bill C-6 “does not “currently” apply to Natural Health Products, the Bill poses a threat in two ways.”

The two ways to which the paper is referring is that Bill C-6 can through a simple “regulatory amendment” incorporate Natural Health Products under the banner of consumer products.  The second is tied to the fact that Bill C-6 “sets a dangerous precedent” in that even if Natural Health Products are not incorporated as part of the original target of the Bill it will only be a matter of time before similar “powers” will be extended to include drugs which, reasons the NHPPA carries a “much higher risk profile than consumer products.”  After all, with 245,000 deaths, and the random prescribing of anti psychotic drugs to children it would seem to be both logical and reasonable to institute greater government control over the drug industry.

This is an interesting impasse in that you have the Ministry saying that amendments to Bill C-6 are too weak.  Conversely the NHPPA believes that through either a regulatory amendment to reclassify it as a consumer product or an extension of the Bill’s powers to include drugs (the category under which the industry is currently regulated) a serious threat exists on multiple levels not the least of which is arbitrary search and seizure without due process.

As it stands exclusion or inclusion is not what is relevant.  The mere existence of Bill C-6, especially with a favorable adherence to the Minister of Health’s requests means that the Natural Health Product industry is vulnerable.

Now some may argue that under the second scenario, even with the tighter controls, Natural Health Products are being treated the same as pharmaceutical company products.  Some might even suggest that this is beneficial in that the NHPPA would have a powerful ally in critical areas such as challenging the contentious search and seizure powers proposed by the Ministry.

However, the real concern is that while equal in principle, the Natural Health Products industry is at a disadvantage for a number of reasons including; a) the pharmaceutical industry has considerably more money and power with which to fight arbitrary actions on the part of the Health Ministry – a level of resources that are simply not available to the NHPPA and, b) the pharmaceutical companies have considerably more lobbying power through which they can influence decisions and even investigations.  The Natural Health Products industry lacks this legislative presence.

So, if you were to look at Bill C-6 in the worst possible light, providing the Ministry with the ability to exert greater power over the Natural Health Products industry through either inclusion or extension leaves the sector in no man’s land.  This would  perhaps pave the way for the Pharmaceutical industry to expand “their” natural health product market share.  Think of it as a kind of industry euthanasia of the Natural Health Products industry if you will.

In business by the way, this is a classic move.  By keeping the intended target busy over here (re Bill C-6), the “powerful” pharmaceutical companies gain control of an important market, while maintaining an air of innocence as it is the big bad government who is taking the action.  Although different, the Avro Arrow comes to mind.

Whether they know it or not, the Natural Health Products industry is possibly on the endangered species list.

One Response to “Is the framework for an Avro Arrow type demise of the Natural Health Products industry in Canada being laid by Bill C-6?”
  1. The power of group intention could change things amazingly fast.
    Take the use and inhaling of nicotine tobacco. Imagine that in truth
    and reality that only weird animalistic people did it in secret.
    The supply would dry up. It would really. it would put the
    government on notice that we don’t buy into the tobacco industry.

    In effect we would be showing our commitment to the planet by
    quitting smoking at large completely. Lateral thinking.

    Save us a lot of money as well.

    I am responding to your worried blog at the accelerating move
    to regulate natural supplements and vitamins.
    My take is this – don’t worry about it mate – we can say NO in
    lots of little ways – the example above is only one example of how.

    They have been moving the same only worse and more specific
    in the UK – headed by Brussels of course – the spearhead of a
    constitution called the E.C. (European Commission). They
    are a faceless bunch of committees who hold meetings have
    quangos and write up treaties behind closed doors. No names.

    Did you know that our MEPs (Members of European Parliament)
    are powerless to vote on any issues? Weird isn’t it?

    The supplements and vitamins market has been cutting into
    the pharmacorps profits. They are openly lobbying the MPs in
    each country (now called member states) to support government
    regulations on how supplements are sold on the shelves.

    Oh yes all the petitions and stuff has gone passively on and it
    makes no difference. Treaties are been referred to public assent
    as promised to the people and referendum ‘Lisbon treaty’ overturned
    with another even better funded campaign to change the decision.

    European committees have overturned British High Court Judges
    rulings about what weight we sell fruit in the famous and still
    unresolved banana case. They are refusing to show papers – all they
    did was to impose a hefty fine and threaten enforcement thereof.

    Gotta comply – they may freeze some bank accounts and seize property.

    Just so you know what happens in front of our eyes, challenged and
    yet still ignored, I can tell you furthermore that in London’s City – the
    heart of the terrorist war zone, the digital media laws are also being
    overturned led by Meddlesome – a recently and conveniently made
    lord to lead the sleepy Lords themselves through the confusing world
    of ownership of copyrights.

    We are about to have the equivalent of NO habeas Corpus passed in
    Parliament again on the 6th of January clamping the Net with blatantly
    unconstitutional laws of inspection and seizure with no reason or trial
    as with the removal of Habeas Corpus.

    The really weird thing is that the people don’t care. They are going
    “whats all this stuff about habeas WOT? ” Why are we so cavalier?

    Because in the first place they can and do pass what amendments
    and regulations and bylaws and papers etc they like anyway. They
    clearly do what they bloody well like what?

    That leaves us where? Chafing like a horse at the bit he has submitted
    to wearing? Foaming at the mouth and being cut whenever you try
    to pull a little? Wincing at the spurs that taxman digs into our hide?

    No not at all. The very fabric of our society in the UK and in the US
    is built on Natural and Common Law. We buy into what we buy into.

    There is little doubt that we buy into an awful lot. Money, drugs, sex,
    gambling and arms. All of these structure and support our economy
    and therefore us.

    Now where certain freedoms apply we can truthfully say to the men
    and women of the government –

    “NO” We can honestly say “We didn’t vote for that – nor did we wish
    this and that to happen as a result.” Our voting contract is breached
    and we comply under Common Law using our courts as originally
    intended. Justice in the proper sense of the word will be our watch

    Honesty and timely integrity, fairness and above all good transparent
    accounts shall prevail which our ministers, commissions, institutions
    are legally bound to make available – how much they do tax? and
    what exactly is it being spent on? Simple stuff.

    Rocket science may be above us. This is with us face to face. When
    all blame is removed from the assessments and discriminations we
    are all subject to, we are easily able to note our judgements and rate
    them as irrelevant as they may be.

    Recently the police seized three citizens and kept them under lock and
    key in their own home/s denying all their rights for 3 weeks. A judge
    overruled police activities under common law human rights precedents.

    So it’s not all bad. We have to take care in this jungle and remain very
    clean and law abiding according to how it benefits society to have honest
    hard working citizens going about their business lawfully.

    Tough call leading by example really isn’t it? Nadar did though and many
    more are getting on with it in the same way.

    Only then can we call our politicians out and hold them to account.
    Which we shall do whenever we can.

    Jackie Mackay

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