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Canadian Action Alert from 3CH

February 19, 2016

An Action Alert Message from the Canadian Consumers Centre for Homeopathy (3CH):

[Please note: this action alert is only for Canadian citizens. The policies mentioned herein do not apply to the United States.]

A change in Health Canada's (HC) labeling requirements for children's homeopathic cough, cold and flu medicines could cause all Canadian families with children 12 and younger to lose access to these products as soon as July 31.

Manufacturers and importers have been told to remove all indications for use (recommended use) for cough, cold and flu for under-13's -- even though they've been permitted by Health Canada since 1997. That means the product labels will not be allowed to say what the medicine is for. No "for colds", "for coughs" or "for flu," and no "for children 12 and under". Even brand names that refer to cough, cold or flu will have to change.

HC's stated reason: to give parents "informed choice." But taking the crucial information off the packaging is inconsistent with that goal. How will parents continue to find the products they use and trust, or make informed choices on what to use to provide relief to our kids? Without medicines formulated for children, we'll be left with undesirable options: estimating the dose based on adult products, making more visits to health care providers to seek advice for minor conditions... or leaving our kids untreated.   

The Canadian Homeopathic Pharmaceutical Association (CHPA), the national industry association representing manufacturers and importers/ distributors of homeopathic medicines, is urging HC to instead take a course of action that will provide parents with more information on homeopathic pediatric product labels rather than less.

If we let this go unchallenged, the precedent is set for limiting access to other homeopathic medicines and in fact ALL NATURAL HEALTH PRODUCTS. HC is showing signs of going in that direction.

So how can we get HC to reconsider?

By speaking up -- to the politicians. We live in a democracy. Canada's enlightened natural health product regulations were created by a Liberal government, and we've got one again.

If we swamp our new Minister of Health and our MPs with messages from consumers, aka voters -- they'll get the message.

Here's What to Do:

  • Write a letter!  Passionate, polite, clear and to the point
  • Make a video!  30 seconds max, 15 is even better - you can say a lot in that time. Or you could even record an MP3.

Tell them what we want them to know!

  • Make it personal: how many children do you have using the products, what are their ages, how often do you give them the products, do they like them?
  • Efficacy: how well have you and your kids found the products work?
  • Safety: ever had problems with them?
  • How important are they to you and your kids?
  • Informed choice: how do you think this regulatory change will affect your right as a parent to informed choice in health care for your kids?
  • Government openness: Prime Minister Trudeau and his government have made a commitment to openness and public consultation. How does this fit with that?

The core message: I choose to use these products, I understand what each one is for, and I trust them.  

Think of Health Canada as a friend you're working with in a team to provide the best health care to Canadians -- but with whom you have a current disagreement on how.  Be clear, logical, passionate.  Be creative.  Have some fun!

Where and How to Send:

  • Please email your letter, video or sound file to the Minister of Health, your Member of Parliament and to us at 3CH.
  • Why to us as well? Because this message is going to go way beyond 3CH's members and subscribers.  We want to track how well this campaign is doing, how effective our emails, social media, etc. are, and which messaging encourages the most people to contact Ottawa. It's very important, so please include us!
  • The "TO" line should look like this: Jane.Philpott@parl.gc.ca; info@homeocentre.ca; [insert your MP's email here]
  • To get your MP's email address, click here and enter your postal code.
  • Proper address to the Minister: The Hon. Jane Philpott, MD, MP, Minister of Health,Government of Canada.

To sign up for 3CH action emails, visit the 3CH website at www.homeocentre.ca, enter your email address, and click on "subscribe."