No, we’re not joking.
In Friday’s episode of CBC’s Marketplace – appropriately titled “License to Deceive,” producers applied for an approval to market a bogus homeopathic remedy for children called “Nighton.” The creators claimed the remedy was effective in reducing pain and fever in infants and children.
And as proof, they submitted a handful of photocopied pages from old homeopathic texts.
No clinical trials, no samples required for testing.
And no, we’re still not joking.
And yes, it was approved by Health Canada.
All this time we thought Health Canada was testing for those pesky little things like risk, side effects, and overall effectiveness.
Yet the widely scrutinized homeopathic remedies sit right beside the real deal on pharmacy shelves. And – as the Marketplace episode highlights – many of us have no clue what the difference between “natural” medicine and homeopathy either.
And let’s be honest, it’s easy for anyone who doesn’t spend their day in scrubs to be fooled by the glossy labels and strategic promotion of natural remedies. Want proof? Despite the fact that many are backed by ZERO scientific evidence, Canadians drop $2.4 billion a year on natural health products.
While pharmaceutical drugs require years of clinical research before they’re approved for sale, Health Canada allows natural health product manufacturers to make the same health claims despite the fact they’re based on traditional medicine or homeopathic use, as opposed to – gasp – scientific evidence.
So, what did Health Canada have to say on the Nighton matter? Apparently, no research is needed because the product was considered low-risk.
You know what’s not low risk?
The fact that the ill informed may opt for the natural products instead of effective treatments, with potentially dire consequences.
Your government at work, ladies and gentleman: