Budget Red Tape Reduction measure will save money for federal and provincial taxpayers, and give consumers faster access to self-care products

OTTAWA, April 26, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Today's Federal budget implementation Bill contains a provision that will remove the requirement for regulatory amendments to impose or to remove prescription status for medicines. This measure will create savings for both the federal government and provincial health care systems, without altering the scientific review process that assures the safety, quality and efficacy of products that are switched from prescription to nonprescription (OTC) status.

"By eliminating the regulatory red tape that holds up the availability of these products for up to two years after they've been approved by Health Canada, this measure will not only reduce costs for the Federal Government, but hasten the savings that these "Rx to OTC switches" generate for provincial healthcare systems and consumers," said Consumer Health Products Canada's Gerry Harrington.

Numerous studies in Canada and abroad have demonstrated that when medicines are switched from prescription to over-the-counter (OTC) status, health care systems save money through reduced physician visits, drug costs and pharmacist dispensing fees. These consumer health products offer people new self-care choices that allow them to take greater control over their own health. There is growing recognition internationally that expanding self-care options can play a vitally important role in maintaining healthcare system sustainability. In recent months, both the United States Food and Drug Administration and the United Kingdom Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency have opened discussions on how to enhance self-care and drive cost savings through prescription to OTC medicine switches.

"Implementation of this budget red tape reduction measure takes an important step in the right direction," said Harrington, "by recognizing the value of self-care and its contribution to the sustainability of Canada's healthcare system. For consumers, it means faster access to new health care choices and lower costs, without changing in any way the actual scientific evaluation process that protects their health and safety."

CHP Canada is a 115 year-old trade association representing the consumer health products industry, including the manufacturers of natural health products (NHPs) and over-the-counter medicines (OTCs). Follow them on Twitter at