UPDATED: A Health Canada spokesperson said Friday the agency is investigating this case.
The company that reportedly sold Zimmerman the saliva treatment is not licensed for any such products, according to Health Canada’s database of licensed natural health products.
“Based on the information provided, Health Canada is opening a case for follow-up,” said Maryse Durette in an email. “Should the department identify any non-compliance with the Food and Drugs Act or the Natural Health Products Regulations, it will take action.”
The sale of an unlicensed natural health product could net you fines of up to $5000 or imprisonment up to three years.
The B.C. Naturopath Association says it has filed a complaint to the industry’s regulator against a Victoria-based naturopath who said she has treated a four-year-old boy with rabid dog saliva.
Dr. Anke Zimmerman, a licensed naturopathic physician of 36 years, told Black Press Media earlier this week the boy had displayed signs of aggression, licking his mother and growling at people, after he’d been bitten dogs multiple times in his young life.
She confirmed what she posted on her website – that she decided to treat him with lyssinum, a diluted remedy of rabid dog saliva, and that his mother later reported his behaviour had improved.
“Dr. Zimmerman’s statements on her website and to the media have raised the concerns of B.C.’s provincial health officer and minister of health,” BCNA co-president Dr. Victor Chan said in a release Thursday.
“We are concerned that certain statements and posts she has made, in person and online, appear to be contrary to the public interest in the practice of the profession – and therefore require action on the part of the regulator to intervene.”
Zimmermann is not a member of the association, Chan said.
The College of Naturopathic Physicians of B.C. confirmed she was licensed, adding lyssinum has is accepted form of homeopathic treatment. It is also approved by Health Canada.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has questioned Zimmermann’s methods as well, saying she plans to write to Health Canada on the approval of lyssinum.
Black Press Media has reached out to Zimmermann for comment.