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Unlicensed North Van maker of nutritional supplements faces charges

A North Vancouver man, who describes himself as a formulator of nutritional supplements, is facing charges under the Food and Drug Act.

A North Vancouver man, who describes himself as a formulator of nutritional supplements, is facing charges under the Food and Drug Act.

Robert Lamberton, who describes himself on his website as a “bio hacker” and “functional medicine consultant” faces 10 charges under the act, including selling over-the-counter supplements that contained prescription drugs, selling natural health products without a licence and selling products that were manufactured in unsanitary conditions.

The charges relate to several products made and sold by Lamberton under his businesses Robert Lamberton Consulting and Cutting Edge Naturals, which were offered for sale online and by email near North Vancouver, Burnaby and Calgary between Sept. 4, 2017 and Nov. 30, 2017, according to court documents.

Charges relate to products including SmartBrain Formulations Serotonin Support and Cutting Edge Naturals MellowMax.

Lamberton is charged with selling a drug without a drug identification number, contrary to food and drug regulations and of selling natural products without a product licence.

He is also charged with making, packaging or labelling drugs without a drug establishment licence and labeling, selling or advertising drugs “in a manner that was false, misleading or deceptive or is likely to create an erroneous impression regarding its composition and safety.”

One of the charges includes allegations of advertising a drug called Cutting Edge Naturals DiaBalance Pro to the general public as a treatment and cure for diabetes, contrary to food and drug regulations.

Natural health products made by Lamberton and his companies were the subject of a Health Canada advisory in December 2017 when the regulator warned “all products sold by the company may pose serious health risks.”

“These products are considered to be manufactured under unsanitary conditions at a site that is not licensed by Health Canada,” the advisory warned, adding the regulator seized all the products and manufacturing equipment that were found at the site.

“Health Canada inspectors observed dirty manufacturing surfaces and equipment and ingredients that were being stored in unsealed containers,” according to the advisory, leading to concerns about possible bacterial contamination, “which can pose serious health risks, especially for those with a weakened immune system.”

One product, SmartBrain Formulations Serotonin Support, was the subject of a Health Canada advisory after testing found E. coli contamination. The label for the product also listed lithium – a prescription drug used for the treatment of manic-depressive illness – as one of the ingredients. The advisory stated lithium should only be used under the care of a health-care professional as it has the potential for serious side effects.

None of the charges against Lamberton have been proven in court and he has not entered a plea to the charges.

Lamberton did not respond to a request for comment. His website describes him as a “highly sought after consultant who works with a selective group of companies who want to develop cutting edge nutritional supplement formulations to take to market.”

Under federal food and drug regulations, natural health products that are licensed for sale are reviewed by Health Canada and can be identified by eight-digit Natural Product Numbers or Homeopathic Medicine Numbers which are displayed on the labels.

There are also restrictions about what can be advertised about natural health products’ effects on certain serious diseases, such as cancer and dementia.

Lamberton’s company has received Health Canada approval for several other products.

He is due in court later this spring.