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Health Canada has released a guide on product labels to help better understand and safely use health products by making it easier for both consumer and professionals.
The guidelines provided by Health Canada are included in two “Good Label and Package Practices” guides which cover both over the counter and prescription drugs. The combination of both guides will allow the industry to clearly follow mandatory labeling requirements to result in simpler, plain language labeling and packaging.
“Clear, easy-to-understand labels and packages are essential for using medications safely and avoiding harm. I’m pleased to have worked closely with Health Canada and the members of the expert panel to develop the guides, which I think will go a long way to improving health product labels and packages in Canada.”, mentioned David U, President, and CEO at the Institute for Safe Medication Practices Canada.
These new guides are part of Canada’s Plain Language Labeling Initiatives which also includes regulations that ensure that clear and understandable labels, like the Facts Table for non-prescription drugs which are being phased in, are respected by manufacturers.
The Facts Table, modeled on the Canadian Nutrition Facts table for foods and a similar table used in the United States for non-prescription drugs will be phased into the market starting June 2017. This initiative will help Canadians better understand information related to over-the-counter drugs such as cough syrup, allergy remedies and pain and fever relievers.
Information available on the table will allow consumers to compare and choose products, clearly and easily identify active ingredients and their purpose (including the recommended dosage), quickly find out what the product is for, recognize any warnings for when the product shouldn’t be used, identify inactive ingredients (to mainly avoid allergic reactions) and finally, know how to contact the manufacturer in case of questions or concerns regarding the product.
Health Canada worked in collaboration with Safe Medication Practices Canada, stakeholders, health professionals, a patient safety group and international experts and regulatory authorities in order to elaborate the guidelines and regulations.