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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Dog rescued from rocky ledge in Summerland

Penticton Search and Rescue members perform high angle rescue

QUIZ: Put your knowledge of Canada to the test

How much do you know about our country?

Penticton Speedway prepares for first race of the year

Limited capacity and social distancing protocols in place after track closed for months

Locals vocal about proposed 300-plus home development in Naramata Bench

The developers, Canadian Horizons, will likely apply for land zoning in August or September

Penticton RCMP seek witnesses to alleged indecent act on Nelson Avenue

Man described as Caucasian, 30 to 40 years old, beige shirt and shorts, long brown hair, fishing hat

North Okanagan man gives back for Canada Day

Food packages given away to those living on the streets in Vernon

PHOTOS: Dual rallies take over Legislature lawn on Canada Day

Resist Canada 153 highlighted colonization and genocide, Unify the People called COVID a hoax

Gov. General honours Canadians for bravery, volunteer service

Five categories of winners presented on Canada Day

COVID-19: Should non-medical masks be mandatory in Canada?

New poll shows Canadians are divided on the rules around mandatory masks

Okanagan mine makes way for industrial project

Council holds a special meeting to rezone property

In photos and video: Colourful Canada Day parade rolls through Sicamous

Patriotic procession allows community to celebrate together while maintaining distance

Okanagan arsonist sentenced to 3 years probation

Arsonist must pay $500 to each party affected, no access to drugs, alcohol or fire starters

Northbound lane of Coquihalla closed after vehicle incident near Hope

A northbound lane is closed just north of the Great Bear Snowshed, according to DriveBC

Water floods North Okanagan skate park, playground

Polson Park remains closed following Tuesday storms

Most Read