Health Canada raids B.C. store for illegal products

Owners say they practice alternate preventative medicine

Total Health Centre in Williams Lake was the scene of a raid Feb. 22, where several products, including unauthorized prescription drugs were seized.

According to Health Canada, the products seized included progesterone creams, thyroid and L-dopa capsules and high-dose vitamin D products. Consumers are warned to not use these products.

Health Canada said they were informed of an issue by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia, and seized injectable products and unauthorized prescription drugs from the centre.

“Patients who are taking progesterone-containing medications (such as birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy) may be at an increased risk due to their overall progesterone exposure. However, if this unauthorized product contains progesterone cream as labelled, health risks would likely arise after long term use,” said Health Canada.

Total Health Centre owners Dale and Angie Loewen said told the Williams Lake Tribune they don’t think they’ve done anything wrong.

“They told us that we are selling drugs, that was the complaint, someone had launched a complaint and that we were selling drugs,” said Angie. “We said we do not sell drugs.”

Instead, they are trying to promote alternative medicine that help people get away from “big pharma” drugs, she said.

The couple said, on the morning of the raid, they received an early phone call, asking if they had anything for a headache.

Not long after, they said six RCMP, alongside two inspectors arrived at their centre on Yorston Street.

“We were literally swat teamed and raided,” said Angie, noting they said they were told there had been a complaint about Total Health, which is what caused the raid.

“We do not have prescription drugs. We don’t want anything to do with them,” said Dale.

The two say instead that they practice alternative preventative health.

In a press release issued on the matter, Health Canada said they confirmed with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C., as well as the College of Naturopathic Physicians, that neither the owner nor anyone who works for Total Health is licensed with them to practice medicine or naturopathic medicine.

To that, Dale said that he is not registered with the College of Physicians, but instead has a license with the Medical Council of Canada.

Some of the products, including L-Dopa, a prescription drug used in anti-Parkinson’s, should be used only under the supervision of a health care professional, said Health Canada, due to a variety of side effects that could occur. Progesterone, used in several creams seized, is also a prescription drug, and can be associated with serious side effects like blood clots, said the release.

Products found at Total Health. Health Canada/td>

Health Canada is urging people to not use the products, and consult with a licensed health care professional if they have or if you have health concerns; to verify people representing themselves as medical doctors by checking with the College of Physicians or Surgeons or the College of Naturopathic Physicians in your province or territory, report concerns to the College of Physicians or Surgeons, as well as to read product labels to verify that health products have been authorized for sale by Health Canada.

Health Canada said such products will have an eight-digit Drug Identification Number, Natural Product Number or Homeophathic Drug Number which can be searched via Health Canada’s Drug Product Database and Licensed Natural Health Product Database.

The labels of the products seized say they contain ingredients that require a prescription to be sold in Canada, stated the press release.

The labels of these products indicate that they contain ingredients that require a prescription to be sold in Canada. Unauthorized products, meaning those not approved by Health Canada, are illegal to be sold in Canada.

Dale and Angie said they ordered all the products online, and operate as a ministry on a donation basis — saying they don’t sell their products, and give them by donation to those who need them instead.

The City of Williams Lake confirmed Monday that the Total Health Centre does not have a business license.

The couple said the centre is still open, but they say their hands are now mostly tied.

Dale calls the regulations “ridiculous and silly,” and said there isn’t anything harmful about what they have, adding he imports many of them from the United States.

“If we buy them in the U.S. they don’t have the DIN number that Health Canada requires,” he said, adding that if the products were so harmful he doesn’t understand why they are readily available online, from both inside and outside Canada.

They said they have been working in the field for 22 years, and that they don’t understand the need for the raid.

“We’re saying if this stuff is so terrible, why aren’t they stopping it at the border?”

On their part, Health Canada said they are working with Canada Border Services Agency to help prevent the future importation of these products.

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