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Do your skin antiseptics meet Canada’s enhanced standards?

Woman receiving a nasal swab

Rigorous standards for the safety and effectiveness of healthcare products are critical.

In 2009, Canada introduced a higher standard for antiseptic products intended for use in healthcare settings, where infection risk is greater.

In 2010, 3M became the first manufacturer of skin antiseptic products to receive authorization for professional healthcare use in Canada. To date, 3M remains the only manufacturer to have received this approval.1

How do you know you’re using an effective skin antiseptic?

Q: What does Professional Healthcare Use in Canada mean?

A: The Professional Use Designation is a category of antiseptics products described within the Health Canada Guidance Document: Human-Use Antiseptic Drugs (December 3, 2009). It outlines enhanced standards for the effectiveness and safety of skin antiseptics. These apply to Drug Identification Number (DIN) and Natural Health Products Number (NPN) formulations.

Q: Why is approval for Professional Healthcare Use in Canada important?

A: The approval for professional healthcare use in Canada helps ensure antiseptics, such as bottled solutions, wipes, swabs, and sponges, meet a rigorous, national testing standard for quality, efficacy, persistence, treatment area, skin irritation, and sensitization. This means health care providers can trust that approved products can be used safely on patients to help protect against microorganisms.

doctor applying antiseptic

Q: Why was approval for Professional Healthcare Use in Canada introduced?

A: Professional healthcare use in Canada was introduced to help protect patients by ensuring the highest efficacy, quality and safety of antiseptics. Previously, manufacturers were not required to provide supporting safety and efficacy data for antiseptic products. Approval for professional use in Canada helps to improve patient safety and provides clarity for industry and healthcare professionals.

Q: What does a Professional Healthcare Use label in Canada mean to you?

A: You can trust that 3M’s antiseptic products authorized for professional healthcare use in Canada exceed standards for quality, safety and efficacy.2  

The evolution of Canada's enhanced standard for skin antiseptics used in healthcare.


  1. Drug Product Database
  2. 3M data on file


About the Author

[enBio=Kathy is an award-winning expert in infection prevention and control. With more than 40 years of healthcare experience, Kathy has held multiple leadership positions in hospitals, and on the International Certification Board of Infection Control. Her expertise on the subject has also been published in articles she’s co-authored for several respected academic journals.],[enJob=Clinical and Technical Specialist, 3M Canada],[frBio=Kathy est une experte primée en prévention et contrôle des infections. Forte de plus de 40 ans d’expérience dans le domaine de la santé, Kathy a occupé de nombreux postes de direction dans des hôpitaux ainsi qu’au sein de l’International Certification Board of Infection Control. Elle a également fait part de son savoir-faire en la matière dans des articles rédigés en collaboration et publiés dans diverses revues universitaires respectées.],[frJob=Spécialiste clinique et technique, Compagnie 3M Canada]

Profile Photo of Kathy McGhie
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