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Questionnaire
Consumer Questionnaire about Selection and Purchase of
Natural Health Products
 
 
 

What is the purpose of the questionnaire?

The purpose of this questionnaire is to better understand the consumer experience in selecting and using natural health products (NHPs).

What products are we asking about?

NHPs contain naturally occurring ingredients that must be safe to use without a prescription. They differ from non-prescription or over-the-counter and prescription drugs, which contain chemical ingredients. Examples of NHPs include vitamins and minerals, homeopathic products, herb- and plant-based remedies, probiotics, as well as some toothpastes and sunscreens. You and your family may use natural health products to maintain your health or to self-treat certain conditions.

Where the following terms are used, you will be able to hover or mouse over them - i.e., natural health products, non-prescription drugs, and prescription drugs - to have a pop-up window open with the definition.

Definitions

Natural Health Products (NHPs): NHPs are health products composed of naturally occurring ingredients that are used to restore or maintain good health and can be purchased without a prescription. They are often made from plants, but can also be made from animal, microorganism, and marine sources. Some examples include: vitamins and minerals, probiotics, herbal remedies, homeopathic products, traditional products (such as Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic medicines), as well as some toothpastes and sunscreens.

Non-prescription Drugs (NPDs) or Over-the-Counter Drugs (OTCs): NPDs or OTCs are health products that are made of chemical ingredients and can be purchased without a prescription. Some examples include: acetaminophen (Tylenol®), ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®), dimenhydrinate (Gravol®), and loratadine (Claritin®).

Prescription drugs: Prescription drugs can only be obtained with a prescription and are most commonly dispensed through a pharmacy. Some examples include: azithromycin, metformin, atorvastatin (Lipitor®), lorazepam (Ativan®), and amoxicillin.

Who will receive your responses?

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices Canada (ISMP Canada) is responsible for administering the questionnaire on Health Canada's behalf.

Confidentiality will be maintained, and no personally identifiable information is requested. A summary of the findings using de-identified data will be shared with Health Canada. In addition, a summary report based on aggregated data will be posted on ISMP Canada's website.

How long will it take?

It will take about 15 minutes to complete. Please complete the questionnaire in one sitting, as you will not be able to exit the questionnaire and return to finish at a later time.

Part I - Natural Health Product Self-Selection Experience

1. Have you ever purchased or used a natural health product?

  • Yes
  • No

2. How many natural health products did you purchase for yourself or your family (Please specify total number of different products you’ve purchased)

  • in the last 12 months?
  • in the last 24 months?

3. Of the types of natural health products mentioned above, which of the following have you purchased? (Please select all that apply)

  • Vitamins and minerals
  • Herbal remedies
  • Homeopathic products
  • Traditional products (such as Traditional Chinese medicine or Ayurvedic medicines)
  • Probiotics
  • Other - Please specify:

4. In addition to the product name, when you look for and select a natural health product, do you read the information on the label? (Please select all that apply)

  • Always
  • If I am purchasing it for use by a child
  • If I am purchasing it for use by a senior
  • If I have a health condition
  • If I don't know how the product works
  • If it's my first time purchasing the product
  • If I have allergies and need to check the ingredients
  • If I have concerns about the ingredients in the product
  • Other reason(s) - Please explain:
  • I rarely read or look at the label, other than the product name
  • Never

5. Which of the following components of a product label help you to make your decision to purchase a natural health product? (Please select all that apply)

  • Brand Name
  • Medicinal ingredients
  • Non-medicinal ingredients
  • Warnings, Contraindications, Cautions
  • Design of the product label and package
  • Instructions for use or recommended dosage
  • Intended purpose or uses of the product (Indications)
  • Ability to easily read the label (such as size of the printing, colour contrast, location of information)
  • I rarely read or look at the label, other than the product name
  • What other information do you feel would be useful on a product label or package?
    Please explain:

6. Have you encountered any problems with how information is presented on the labels of natural health products? (Please select all that apply)

  • Information was missing or incomplete - Please specify what was missing:
  • Not all non-medicinal ingredients were listed - Please specify:
  • Information was difficult to read (size of the printing, colour contrast, interference of graphics) - Please specify:
  • Information was not easily understood (for example, confusing instructions, look-alike product names) - Please specify:
  • Information was poorly organized or difficult to find - Please specify:
  • Other problems with product labels - Please specify:
  • I have had no problems with the information on natural health product labels

7. Of the problem(s) mentioned above, with which of the following types of products have you encountered this issue? (Please select all that apply)

  • Vitamins and minerals
  • Herbal remedies
  • Homeopathic products
  • Traditional products (such as Traditional Chinese medicine or Ayurvedic medicines)
  • Probiotics
  • Other - Please specify:

8. If you don't read the information on the product label, is this because the product... (Please select all that apply)

  • is recommended by your doctor or pharmacist
  • is recommended by your friends or family
  • has been purchased before
  • label or packaging is hard to read
  • has been researched on the Internet beforehand
  • Other reason(s) - Please explain:
  • I always read the information on the label

Part II - Adverse Reactions to Natural Health Products

9. Have you ever experienced any adverse reaction after using a natural health product?

  • Yes
  • No

10. Did you report the adverse reaction(s)? (Please check all that apply)

  • Yes – to my healthcare practitioner (e.g., family doctor, pharmacist, naturopath, dentist, nurse practitioner, home visit nurse)
  • Yes – to Health Canada
  • Yes – to the manufacturer
  • Yes – to the store where I purchased the product(s)
  • Yes – to someone else - Please specify:
  • No

11. How severe was (were) your adverse reaction(s)? (Please check all that apply)

  • Resolved on its own
  • It resulted in a visit to a healthcare practitioner (e.g., family doctor, pharmacist, naturopath, dentist, nurse practitioner, home visit nurse) or a walk-in clinic.
  • It resulted in a visit to the Emergency Department
  • It resulted in a hospital stay
  • Other - Please explain:

12. How many times in the last 24 months did an adverse reaction require you to visit a healthcare practitioner (e.g., family doctor, pharmacist, naturopath, dentist, nurse practitioner, home visit nurse) or a walk-in clinic to be assessed or treated for the reaction?

13. How many times in the last 24 months did an adverse reaction require you to visit the Emergency Department?

14. How many times in the last 24 months did an adverse reaction require you to be admitted to the hospital?

15. Were any of the above adverse reactions due to the accidental or incorrect use of a natural health product?

Part III - Purchasing Natural Health Products

16. Have you ever purchased or used the wrong natural health product by mistake – finding out later that it was not the product you thought you had selected?

  • Yes – Purchased the wrong natural health product. Please explain
  • Yes – Used a wrong natural health product by mistake. Please explain
  • No

16a. In responding to Question 16, to which of the following types of products are you referring? (Please select all that apply)

  • Vitamins and minerals
  • Herbal remedies
  • Homeopathic products
  • Traditional products (such as Traditional Chinese medicine or Ayurvedic medicines)
  • Probiotics
  • Other - Please specify:

17. Thinking about the past 2 years, please answer the following questions to the best of your knowledge.

In 2018In 2019
How many times did you purchase a natural health product by mistake?
How many of these purchases did you return for a refund?
How many of these purchases were replaced with the right product?

18. What do you think led you to select or purchase the wrong product? (Please select all that may apply)

  • I confused it with another product that looked the same/had similar packaging
  • There were many different products with the same basic ingredients
  • I only noticed after I purchased the product that I couldn’t take it (e.g., because of a health condition or an allergy)
  • I couldn’t read the information on the label (e.g., because the printing was too small, the colours were difficult to read, the location of information was confusing, the graphics interfered with the printing)
  • I couldn’t remember what my doctor (or other healthcare practitioner) recommended
  • I thought it was the same product I purchased before
  • I didn’t know what product I needed
  • I thought it would work just as well as another product I had used before
  • I didn’t understand what the product really was before buying it (i.e., the Brand Name or the images on the front panel did not match the rest of the information of the package)
  • Other reason(s) or provide additional information about the reasons you selected above - Please explain:

19. Would you recommend any improvements to the product label to avoid repeating a wrong (or incorrect) purchase? – Please explain:

20. Please provide any additional comments about your experience with the information on labels and packages when looking for and deciding to purchase a natural health product.

Part IV - Your profile

21. Please indicate your age:

  • under 18
  • 18 to 25
  • 26 to 35
  • 36 to 45
  • 46 to 55
  • 56 to 65
  • 66 or older
  • Prefer not to disclose

22. What gender do you identify as?

  • Female
  • Male
  • Another gender identity: Please specify:
  • Prefer not to disclose

23. What is the highest level of formal education you have completed?

  • Grade 8 or less
  • Some high school
  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Registered Apprenticeship or other trade certificate or diploma
  • College, CEGEP, or other non-university certificate or diploma
  • University certificate or diploma below bachelor's level
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Post-graduate degree (above bachelor's level)
  • Prefer not to disclose

24. Which of the following best describes your total annual income in 2019?

  • Under $20,000
  • $20,000 to just under $40,000
  • $40,000 to just under $60,000
  • $60,000 to just under $80,000
  • $80,000 to just under $100,000
  • $100,000 to just under $150,000
  • $150,000 and above
  • Prefer not to disclose

25. For the children or other people (such as seniors) living with you, to what level are you directly responsible for caring for them?

  • No responsibility
  • Some responsibility
  • Lots of responsibility
  • Not applicable

26. On average, how many hours a week do you usually spend doing housework (e.g., cleaning, cooking, washing, etc.)?

27. Are you the primary person responsible for doing housework in your home?

  • Yes
  • No

28. We are interested in how much money is spent on natural health products as compared to prescription drugs. To the best of your knowledge, in the table below please provide information on your total expenses, including the costs covered by insurance or health plans, for these products.

In 2018
(in Canadian $)
In 2019
(in Canadian $)
Estimated total expenses for natural health products
Estimated total expenses for non-prescription or over-the-counter drugs
Estimated total expenses for prescription drugs
(If you get prescriptions for natural health products or for non-prescription or over-the-counter drugs, please count them here and not under the other categories.)

29. How did you hear about this questionnaire? (Select all that apply)

  • From a consumer organization – Please provide the name of the organization:
  • From a disease- or disorder-based organization, e.g., The Heart and Stroke Foundation, The Diabetes Society of Canada, Canadian Cancer SocietyPlease provide the name of the organization:
  • From a colleague, friend or family
  • From my healthcare practitioner (e.g., pharmacist or doctor)
  • From ISMP Canada
  • From a health-related association or NGO (non-governmental organization)
  • From another source – Please specify:


If you have experienced a serious side effect or an adverse reaction after using a natural health product and have not reported it, you are encouraged to do so.

Adverse reactions can be reported and submitted to the Canada Vigilance Program of Health Canada by telephone (toll-free: 1-866-234-2345), or online through MedEffect™ Canada at:
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/medeff/report-declaration/index-eng.php

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