The transition period for the Natural Health Products (NHP) Compliance and Enforcement Policy previously slated to end on March 1, 2011, was extended by the Natural Health Products Directorate (NHPD). No new deadline has been set, but in a December 22 letter to industry, the NHPD announced  that implementation of the policy would be postponed pending “further notice.”

The extension results from a report by the NHP Program Advisory Committee (NHP-PAC) regarding the Standards of Evidence for Non-Traditional NHPs (report). In July 2010, the NHPD issued a response to the report that supported the majority of its 33 recommendations. As a result, the NHPD is considering consequential amendments to its guidance documents to provide further clarification on the standards of evidence. Further discussions between the NHPD and the NHP-PAC will address this subject in 2011.

As the new policy will require all NHPs to have product licences or compliance numbers before they are offered for sale, the pending deadline is a concern for industry participants affected by the current backlog in product licensing applications. Previously, the NHPD had indicated that, following the compliance period, a product lacking a licence or an exemption number could be subject to enforcement action, and should not be sold or imported into Canada.