It is currently not a legal requirement for drug manufacturers to list non-medicinal ingredients (“NMIs”) on the labels of drugs sold in Canada. That situation might change in the course of the next few months, however, since Health Canada is considering making the listing of NMIs mandatory on the outer label of nonprescription drugs. A regulation to that effect was moreover published in the Canada Gazette last June 6, 2009.4

Listing NMIs is already mandatory in the United States, Europe and Australia. In Canada, it has been mandatory for natural health products since 2004, and for cosmetics since 2006.

The goal of the proposed amendment is to allow consumers to make an informed choice when purchasing drugs to avoid such risks as allergic and adverse drug reactions.5 However, the proposed amendment will not apply to:

  1. prescription drugs;  
  2. nonprescription drugs only administered under the supervision of a practitioner;  
  3. drugs that are represented as being solely for use as a disinfectant on hard non-porous surfaces;  
  4. drugs for veterinary use.6