Controlling Healthcare

By Shae Hadden | Bio

While Americans debate the need for universal healthcare in their country, Canadians are wondering about the need for stringent controls on the classification, labeling and distribution of therapeutic drugs, foods and medical devices. The federal government has proposed Bill C-51, touted as a ‘consumer safety and security’ measure, clamps down on the healthcare industry and poses a potential threat to the country’s citizens by limiting the options available to consumers. We now have pharmaceutical drugs and natural health products: the bill, if passed, will merge both into one category called “therapeutic products”. Neutraceuticals, derived from foods essential to life, would become subject to drug testing routines and prescription requirements. Currently, only pharmaceutical drugs are considered toxic until proven they have therapeutic benefit.

Human beings always react to any attempt to ‘control’ their behavior and practices. Just as Americans have been skirting their ‘system’ by buying generic prescription drugs online, will Canadians be forced to ‘go underground’ to obtain the therapeutic products we need to be healthy?

Bill C-51 is not a problem for the major pharmaceutical companies that have sufficient funds to pay for rigorous testing, certification procedures, labeling requirements and sanitary production standards. In fact, the bill will allow them to provide their own research as evidence of the efficacy of their products and fast track the drug approval process, a practice that has proven to be fraught with drug recalls and safety issues in the U.S. Further, any research a university or institution might like to do into toxic substances will have to be approved by the Minister. For the consumer, if you possess unapproved health products (calcium supplements, for example), Health Canada inspectors would be able to enter your home or business without a warrant, confiscate anything they wish, make you pay for the removal costs, freeze your bank accounts and fine you up to $5 million for disobeying their orders.

Alternative healthcare manufacturers, who don’t have the big budgets and political clout of the pharmaceutical industry behind them, will be challenged to prove the healing efficacy of the products they currently create or distribute and meet the government’s testing standards—even though neutraceuticals are currently being used successfully to heal patients. Besides this, for those companies that do go through the trouble of applying for certification, there will be a transition period while they await approval from a non-existent (as yet) certification authority.

A bill similar to C-51 that was passed in Australia several years ago killed the natural health product industry and allowed the pharmaceuticals to take over the entire market.

The second reading of Bill C-51in the House of Commons, scheduled for May 8, was mysteriously cancelled.

If you are a Canadian and want to take action on this issue, visit or write your MP or the Prime Minister (c/o the House of Commons for free), check out the Canadian Health Coalition or the Council of Canadians and voice your concerns. Visit for more information.

© 2008 Shae Hadden. All rights reserved.