More to know - industry regulations & health standards.

What are Natural Health Products?
Under the Natural Health Products Regulations, which came into effect on January 1, 2004, natural health products (NHPs) are defined as:
  • Vitamins and minerals
  • Herbal remedies
  • Homeopathic medicines
  • Traditional medicines such as traditional Chinese medicines
  • Probiotics
  • Other products like amino acids and essential fatty acids
NHPs are considered 'over-the-counter' (meaning no prescription required) and can greatly benefit health-conscious individuals. Products requiring a prescription will continue to be regulated under the Food and Drug Regulations. A recent Baseline Natural Health Products Survey conducted in March 2005 shows that 71% of Canadians regularly take vitamins and minerals, herbal products, homeopathic medicines, and other similar products - which are collectively known as NHPs.

Most NHPs have a long history of safe use, and many people take some form of a NHP on a daily basis. The desire for natural alternatives to prescription drugs has helped to renew interest in herbal medicines. Furthermore, in addition to botanical agents, there has been recent attention to the benefits offered by non-herbal dietary supplements.

Individuals often use NHPs to improve and positively influence their health. When used appropriately, NHPs can become an important and integral part of an individual's health management, especially in connection with healthy exercise and life-style choices. Indeed, using Prime Health's natural products can significantly enhance and complement your health-conscious choices.

Which manufacturing standards regulate NHPs' production and distribution?
Prior to January 1st, 2004, natural health products (NHPs) were sold as either drugs or foods under the Food and Drugs Act and Regulations because there was no other category under which to classify them.

If classified as a drug, natural health products must adhere to the drug review process, including proof of safety and efficacy through clinical trials, and receive a Drug Identification Number (DIN) to be sold. If classified as a food, natural health products can make only very limited health claims and need not provide adequate safety information on their labels.

As more and more Canadians began to use NHPs, it became apparent that neither classification (as drug or food) would be appropriate, and that a new policy to directly address the unique nature of NHPs was required. With this in mind, the Natural Health Products Regulations was developed in order to address this policy requirement.

Provisions for the gradual implementation of the Natural Health Products Regulations were based on an incremental approach over the next six years:
  1. by the end of two years, all manufacturers, importers, packagers and labelers will employ good manufacturing practices (GMP) and have site licenses
  2. by the end of six years, each NHPs that currently have a product license as a Drug Identification Number (DIN), must transfer to have a NPN or a DIN-HM (homeopathic medicine)