With the increasing number of supplements on the market, consumers are often left unsure of what they’re purchasing. Have you ever heard of the term NPN? Natural Product Number, commonly referred to as an NPN, is an identification number that helps track the safety and quality of natural health products.
What is a Natural Health Product?
There are strict rules in Canada regarding the distribution of natural health products, which includes herbs, vitamins, minerals, honey, and more. The distribution of these products is unregulated (and controlled) by natural health product licensing. A person cannot give wellness advice without a license.
To get your license in Canada you must be “registered”, meaning that your application was accepted into the system either because membership in an industry association commended your application or because your profile matches one already accepting submissions for processing.
Once registered you have to put down a certain amount of money for registration fees and then it usually takes 2-3 years for approval if you didn’t have excellent past performance records with other companies.
A question of consumer protection
The fact that product names can’t be misleading might not seem like such a big deal. However, as licensed producers become more and more popular, it’s becoming harder and harder to differentiate options for natural health products because there are so many different naming approaches to choose from.
Because of this, there is significant discussion about whether or not to make requirements stricter for those who want to sell and market these types of products to consumers.
Licensing Requirements for Canadian Natural Health Products
Canada’s process of authorizing the sale of any natural health product is rigorous and extensive. The manufacturer of qualified natural health products in Canada needs to create documentation, comply with all Health Canada rules, and launch the product with no grey market. This includes companies that are not actually located in Canada.
The Canadian Food and Drugs Act does not currently include any provisions to deal with the marketing of natural health products in Canada. To address this, Health Canada released updated Natural Health Product Regulations in March 2017 that provide clarity on the licensing requirements for natural health products.
Things You Should Know About Licensing
Licensing is the process by which a business is granted the right to use a particular brand. Some people obtain product licenses with complementary/alternative health care professionals such as naturopaths and homoeopaths, whereas others obtain their licenses with licensed producers of medicinal cannabis under Health Canada’s Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR).
For both licensing categories, applicants submit an application package and, after reviewing and verifying information in their application, Health Canada will issue them a license.
One of the things that people new to health care inside of Canada should ensure is that their Natural Health Product Accessory gives them access to product information, supporting legislation, and direct support.
The Canadian business environment for natural health product licensing is complex and burdened with red-tape, but if you follow the guidelines, you can expect support from Health Canada to obtain a valid licence that will deliver your products to Canadians.