Dear Minister Aglukkaq,

 There is a fatal flaw in the Food and Drugs Act which renders Health Canada powerless to regulate dietary supplements.  That flaw is its use-based definition of “drug” that “… includes any substance … represented for use in the … treatment, mitigation, or prevention of a disease, disorder or abnormal physical  state …”.  By this definition, foods such as the following are magically transformed into “drugs”:  oranges for preventing scurvy, prunes for relieving constipation, milk for building bones, carrots for vision, oat bran for lowering cholesterol, milk for ulcers, green tea for antioxidants, garlic for lowering blood pressure, whole wheat for dietary fibre, cherries for relieving gout, peppermint for soothing the digestive tract, fish as brain food, breath mints for halitosis, water for preventing dehydration, and all foods that prevent starvation.

              This statutory definition appears to give Health Canada the power to declare whatever it wishes to be a “drug”.  And that is exactly its flaw.  It is so vague as to be unenforceable in any court of law.  This use-based definition violates the “void for vagueness” and “over breath” doctrines under section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

              It doesn’t stop there.  Every regulation that is derived from this flawed definition of “drug” is necessarily also unenforceable in any court of law.  In other words, all of the NHP Regulations which treat  dietary supplements as if they were “drugs” are legally null and void, including the NPN product licensing scheme.

              Minister Aglukkaq, you have the opportunity to return Health Canada to fulfilling its proper legal mandate.  A minor amendment to the Food and Drugs Act would be a major step in this regard.  Simply insert “other than food, food derivatives, and dietary supplements” into the statutory definition of “drug”, as indicated in the example below:

 

“Drug” includes any substance or mixture of substances – other than food, food derivatives and dietary supplementsmanufactured, sold or represented for use in

(a)     The diagnosis, treatment, mitigation or prevention of a disease, disorder or abnormal physical state, or its symptoms, in human beings or animals.

(b)     Restoring, correcting or modifying organic functions in human beings or animals, or

(c)      Disinfection in premises in which food is manufactured, prepared or kept.

 Yours most sincerely,

 Robert K. Jefferson

 

Dietary Supplement Protective Union

1 Yonge St., (Ste. 1801), Toronto, ON  M1E 5W7

www.dspu.ca