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Letter to the Editor in response to: "Is Health Canada aiding measles' comeback?" Nathan Kunzler and Arthur Caplan (Toronto Star - Sept 6, 2013)

September 6, 2013

In the article this past Friday, authors Kunzler and Caplan perpetuated an unfortunate misconception about homeopathic preparations or "nosodes". Health Canada has not authorized any nosode as a vaccine alternative.  Authorizing homeopathic remedies, including nosodes, for use of traditional homeopathic care is a very different thing from authorizing them as alternatives to vaccines.

Both Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada continue to promote and actively support vaccination of Canadians to protect them from vaccine-preventable illness.

When Health Canada first became aware that misconceptions were circulating about the intended use of nosodes, steps were taken promptly to correct these errors.  Health Canada contacted the Canadian Homeopathic Pharmaceutical Association and secured its assistance in posting a prominent statement of clarification on its website.

And, to ensure there is no remaining confusion, Health Canada has also revised the requirements for authorization of nosode products to explicitly state on the product package: "This product is not intended to be an alternative to vaccination."

Health Canada respects diversity and recognizes that a growing number of Canadians choose natural health products to maintain and improve their health.  On their behalf, we will continue to ensure that a wide range of safe high-quality products are available.  At the same time, together with responsible health care practitioners, we will continue to promote and share accurate information about vaccine safety and effectiveness.


Adam Gibson
A/Director General, Natural Health Products Directorate
Health Canada