Health Canada has released a Natural Health Products Brand Name guide to be used in the industry when choosing appropriate brand names for their natural health products (NHPs). A product’s brand name is its distinguisher and is the name under which that NHP is sold or advertised. Brand names can be in either French or English, however they must be consistent with section 9 of the Food and Drugs Act.
9 (1) No person shall label, package, treat, process, sell or advertise any drug in a manner that is false, misleading or deceptive or is likely to create an erroneous impression regarding its character, value, quantity, composition, merit or safety.
(2) A drug that is not labelled or packaged as required by, or is labelled or packaged contrary to, the regulations shall be deemed to be labelled or packaged contrary to subsection (1).
When NNHPD reviews NHP brand names they consider a defined set of criteria to ensure they do not infringe on the Food and Drugs Act. Medicinal ingredients, non-medicinal ingredients and partial references to these ingredients are permitted in a brand name providing they do not lead to misrepresentation of the product’s composition or effects and that they do not mislead consumers or imply efficacy when it is not there. Stakeholders should be cautious using terms that may imply their product is not correctly classified as an NHP. Some of these terms include, candy or drink. It is also important to choose a brand name that does not imply a broader claim than the explicitly intended purpose of the product. Additionally, a brand name should not mislead consumers to the degree of efficacy of that product. For example, an NHP intended for use to relieve mild muscle pain should not have a brand name that implies it will provide full or complete relief of muscle pain.
NNHPD intends for stakeholders to use the criteria listed in the brand name guidance document to conduct a preliminary review of their proposed brand name prior to submitting their product license application (PLA). This will ultimately streamline their PLA processing time as the PLA is less likely to be rejected due to improper brand naming. NNHPD has stated that any brand name refusals will be supported by listing of the specific criteria that has been violated. In the case of non-traditional PLAs, class 2 or 3, the stakeholders will be given an opportunity to revise their brand name via an information request notice (IRN).