Last year, Marketplace, the CBC’s consumer watchdog program, decided to find out what it takes to get a “natural” health product approved by Health Canada. The program developed its own children’s fever remedy, which it called “Nighton,” and submitted an application to the federal public health regulator.
As evidence of Nighton’s efficacy, Marketplace included with its submission some photocopied pages from two reference books on homeopathy. On that diaphonously flimsy basis, Health Canada later approved the application, meaning Marketplace could sell Nighton from that point forward with a label claiming it was “safe and effective.”
Nighton was just one of the thousands of natural health products (NHPs) approved by Health Canada last year, with no more grounds to believe — certainly no scientific evidence — that any of them have any medicinal value whatever. NHPs, as defined by Health Canada, are products that are sold over the counter, without a prescription, and include things like herbal supplements, vitamins, traditional medicines and homeopathic remedies.