Prescription, OTC and Herbal Remedies Term Paper

Pages: 5 (1353 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Medicine

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[. . .] There is also a movement to address the quality and efficacy of alternative supplements in Canada, where recently the pharmaceutical industry started manufacturing herbal remedies and McNeil Consumer Products received approval within Canada for the "release of Tanacent for the treatment of migraines (Silverstein & Spiegel, 2001). This drug is derived from an herbal medication, feverfew.

Legislation and Medication

There are many that have suggested that the drug review process and legislation governing herbal remedies in Canada is less stringent than in the United States; in Canada for example there is typically one individual responsible for evaluating a prospective agent whereas a team of reviewers is typically employed in the U.S. (Silverstein & Spiegel, 2001; Ruedy, Kaufman & Macleod, 1999). The cost of obtaining a 'drug identification number' is also less in Canada (Silverstein & Spiegel, 2001).

Prescription medications are highly regulated whereas herbal and OTC preparations less so, particularly herbal therapies. Prescription medications must meet several different standards and go through testing before a product can be marketed for a specific disease.

In 1999 Canada allocated 7 million dollars to establish an Office of Natural Health Products that was tasked with governing pre-market assessment, labeling, licensing and monitoring of herbal supplements though the full scope of the office has yet to be fully determined (Longtin & Miller, 2000).

Within Canada prescription medications go through the same rigorous legislation and regulation they would in other countries. The national authority for drug regulation in Canada, Health Canada, operates under Canada's Food and Drugs Act and Regulations, and is responsible for conducting regulatory reviews of drugs to ensure sufficient "evidence of safety, efficacy and quality" (HC, 2004).

Prescription and OTC drugs on the market available for consumer purchase are continually monitored by Health Canada for safety and efficacy (HC, 2004). Prescription drugs may only be sold if a consumer has a valid prescription written by a physician licensed to practice in Canada (HC, 2004).

The provincial and territorial governments within Canada are tasked with regulating the practice of medicine and pharmacy, and pharmacies are required to be registered within each territory before they may dispense medication (HC, 2004).

Conclusions/Analysis

There is a growing trend among consumers to 'self-medicate' or find natural remedies to help prevent and treat mild or acute illnesses. Because of this many consumers have turned to OTC remedies or natural remedies for support and healing.

Prescription remedies require that a consumer obtain a prescription from a licensed physician in Canada prior to disbursement. This extra step is often warranted, and assures a patient will receive a proper diagnosis before attempting to self-medicate. However, this is not to say that OTC or herbal remedies are not entirely safe. They can be used safely when consumers are properly educated regarding their side effects and potential hazards.

To some extent OTC medications are also regulated by Health Canada, which continually monitors the safety and efficacy of drugs on the market in Canada. The Canadian government considers such legislation and routine monitoring vital to the safety and well being of the Canadian consumer.

Recently an Office was also established to help monitor herbal remedies on the market, though these are the least adequately monitored drugs available. Thus, consumers interested in herbal remedies should take great care in selecting a medication to ensure that they are taking something that is safe given their medical history and current health status. Most consumers would benefit from consulting with their physicians regardless of whether they are considering herbal, OTC or prescription drug therapy.

References:

HC. (2004). "The regulation of Prescription drugs: roles and responsibilities." Health

Canada. May 2004. Retrieved 7, December 2004: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/english/media/releases/2004/internet_pharmacybk1.htm

Longtin, D. & Miller, H.I. (2000). "Death by dietary supplement." Policy Review: 15

Ruedy J, Kaufman DM, MacLeod H. (1999). Alternative and complementary medicine in Canada: A survey. Can Med Assn J; 160:816-818

Silverstein, D.D. & Spiegel, A.D. (2001). "Are physicians aware of the risks of alternative medicine?" Journal… [END OF PREVIEW]

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