Health Canada is considering sweeping changes to how they regulate cosmetics, OTC drugs and Natural Health Products. It is a revolutionary approach which would regulate all products in these categories under one set of rules for “Consumer Health Products”. Lower risk products like most cosmetics would have the least regulatory burden, with increasing regulatory oversight for higher risk products such as therapeutic OTC drugs.
This is a very thoughtful approach, and there are good reasons to do it. There are many products that sit on the borderline of our current product classifications. For example sunscreens which are common in many lines of cosmetics are regulated as either OTC drugs or Natural Health Products. Based on a regulatory loophole, sunscreen active ingredients can be present in products classified as cosmetics as long as the SPF claim isn’t made. This mishmash of rules creates massive inconsistencies in the approvals and importation of OTC drugs and Natural Health Products, which seems wrong to many stakeholders.
It is a thoughtful plan, and also very ambitious. The Natural Health community is voicing strong opposition to these changes after fighting for years for improved regulations. It’s also expected that the new regulatory approach would involve user fees for [...] Learn more
Last week we covered how to reduce the amount of packaging you buy in the first place. But sometimes this just isn't possible. Reusing packaging is the next best option to not using it in the first place. Extending the lifetime of packaging helps reduce the amount of new packaging produced. Here are a few tips on how to reuse packaging.
3. Skip the plastic carry bags
Of course, there are some items that can only be found at big brand stores. In this case try skipping the usual plastic carry bags for canvas or nylon bags. You can usually purchase these reusable bags at grocery store checkouts, or you can reuse the sturdier plastic carry bags that clothing stores often provide. Try keeping a few bags in your trunk, or nylon bags that fold up and clip onto your purse or backpack so they are always with you. Some grocery stores also provide cardboard boxes you can pack your groceries in. If you are just buying one or two small items, and forget a reusable bag, simply carry them out to your vehicle without one. And why stop with groceries? I’ve used reusable bags at various stores from clothing, to electronics [...] Learn more
Over the Counter (OTC) or non-prescription drugs are therapeutic products considered to be safe and effective to be used by consumers without treatment from a health professional. There are currently more than 300,000 OTC drugs on the market in the U.S. Due to the sheer volume of products, the FDA reviews therapeutic classes of drugs, rather than the individual products. There are over 80 classes of OTC drugs (for example analgesics and antacids), and each category has an OTC Drug Monograph that outlines acceptable ingredients, doses, formulations, and labelling.
Once the final monograph is in place, OTC drugs can be produced and marketed without FDA pre-approval or review if they conform to the monograph. Products than do not conform have to submit a New Drug Application. The manufacturer can also request that the final monograph be updated to include additional ingredients or modified labelling.
Additional data for OTC monographs can be submitted by drug companies, health professionals, consumers, or citizen groups. If it is a request to amend an existing drug monograph or an opinion on a monograph, it needs to be submitted as a citizen petition or correspondence to [...] Learn more
The next time you buy groceries, cosmetics, children’s toys, or really any consumer product, take a look at the packaging. More than likely at least some of your vegetables are shrink wrapped on a Styrofoam tray. Your shampoo, lotion and deodorant comes in a package where at least one plastic component isn’t recyclable. That brand-new doll is wedged into a clear plastic tray, then shoved into a box that takes up three times more space that the doll itself. Ask yourself, where does all that packaging go?
Now step outside on garbage morning. The truck rolls up and dumps the garbage, metals, plastics and cardboards into the same compartment. As the boxes are hoisted up, the wind picks up and you recognise the shrink wrap that was covering your broccoli floating away down the street to decorate your neighbours garden. Later that day you take a walk down to the lake and notice a horrifying number of plastic bottles, snack wrappers and other packaging scattered throughout the water, plants, and the nearby playground.
Unfortunately, large amounts of packaging waste are incorrectly disposed of or unintentionally [...] Learn more
Young entrepreneurs always tell me “I want to get a patent on my formula so no one can copy me”. To which I reply, “if your idea is any good they can and will copy you and your patent will teach them exactly how to make it”. As the blood drains away from their faces, I await the next question. If it doesn’t come I fill in the dead air with, “but the patent does give you the right to sue them and expect to spend about $1 million a lawsuit to do so”. Now I have to catch them before they fall down.
Before the hate mail starts coming from patent lawyers, there are many examples where patents are useful. For inventors who want to sell their technology or license it, they can be invaluable. For organizations with deep pockets and the resources to fight copycats, they are a must. But before applying for a patent, there are a lot of factors that need to be considered.
For young entrepreneurs who really want a patent, they need to prove their idea is novel and unexpected. This can be a big hurdle. The amount of so-called “prior art” in the world today [...] Learn more