Monday, February 04, 2008

New natural health product rules to allow cancer prevention claims

From the Globe and Mail:
Companies that sell natural health products will soon have unprecedented freedom to promote the ability of vitamins, herbal supplements and non-prescription drugs to prevent serious diseases and medical conditions, including cancer, heart disease and arthritis.

The changes to the federal rules, which take effect June 1, represent a significant boost for the natural health industry, which is eager to increase its credibility and capitalize on a booming market for vitamins and botanical supplements by directly marketing their health claims to consumers.

But medical experts and consumer advocates warn the federal government's decision could result in a flood of deceptive claims about natural health products that are backed up by inadequate or even flawed scientific evidence.

"It seems to me they're [Health Canada] authorizing wholesale misleading claims," said Bill Jeffery, national co-ordinator for the Centre for Science in the Public Interest. "They're giving industry even more latitude and they're prepared to approve even more impressive claims about more worrisome diseases with very little evidence." ...more

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