CODEX/Pharma-Friendly Legislative Assault Threatens US Health Freedom: Nutrient 'Adverse Event Reporting' Distorts Supplement Safety, Ignores Drug Dangers

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Are Pharma-friendly Congressmen introducing bills clearing the path for harmonization with pro-illness provisions in CODEX by making supplements unavailable either directly or by stealth? The remarkable safety of inexpensive and effective supplements is a direct market threat to dangerous and expensive drugs. Four bills and an amendment designed to end Americans' access to nutrients and supplements have been introduced into Congress.

Are Pharma-friendly Congressmen introducing bills clearing the path for harmonization with pro-illness provisions in CODEX by making supplements unavailable either directly or by stealth?

The remarkable safety of inexpensive and effective supplements is a direct market threat to dangerous and expensive drugs. Four bills and an amendment designed to end Americans' access to nutrients and supplements have been introduced into Congress.

Rima E. Laibow, MD, Medical Director of the pro-health freedom Natural Solutions Foundation notes that "The continuing corporate assault on natural medicine choices has taken a dangerous twist via coordinated legislative attacks in Congress on American's right to make natural health choices. Americans use nutritional supplements in chronic degenerative diseases like cancer and cardiovascular disease. These killer diseases are poorly prevented or treated with highly profitable drugs while natural approaches usually offer better outcomes and more relief than drugs can without side effects and toxicity."

She estimates that every dollar of the $20 billion supplement industry probably costs Big Pharma $40 in direct and indirect lost revenue.

"No wonder Big Pharma lobbies Congress at nearly $1 Billion per year: healthy people are bad for their business!" she said.

Pharma-friendly, CODEX-ready legislation has been introduced into Congress which directly or indirectly guts the legislative protection classifying nutritional supplements as foods (for which no upper limits are permitted as unanimously enacted by Congress in the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 [DSHEA]).

Once the DSHEA's protection is removed, there will be no barrier left to harmonization with CODEX standards like the recently ratified Vitamin and Mineral Guideline.

Amendments to appropriations (e.g., Sen. Durbin's SA 1379) and bills (e.g., Pallone's HR 2510 and Davis' HR 3156) call for, among other things, an "adverse events reporting" requirement for nutrients despite the fact that no such system exists for much more dangerous drugs. This system would give the nutrient-hostile FDA ammunition to remove supplements which have supposedly been potentially harmful.

Davis' bill explicitly gives the FDA power to remove nutrients from the market if there is a theoretical risk even if no harm has ever been associated with the item. No such reporting requirement exists for drugs, including deadly ones like Vioxx (which the FDA blames for 55,000-188,000 American deaths), despite drug toxicity and dangers.

Laws that protect access to nutrition, like DSHEA, undercut pharmaceutical profits. Dietary supplements have an astonishing safety record: there are no deaths conclusively associated with any supplement despite hundreds of millions of doses while complications associated with even "properly used" pharmaceuticals are the fourth leading cause of death in the US while pharmaceutical "medical misadventure" causes more U.S. deaths than heart disease, the number 1 disease-related killer. (http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2004/mar2004_awsi_death_01.htm).

Additional bills (e.g., Burton/Pallone's HR 2485 and Gregg/Frist, et. al, S 3) attack nutrients in other ways. HR 2485 calls for "full implementation of DSHEA" which, despite its supplement-friendly sound, would implement excessive "good manufacturing practices" which are more stringent than those to which pharmaceutical companies are subjected. This would drive most small and medium-sized manufacturers out of business.

S 3 eliminates pharmaceutical liability and removes much-needed legal remedies for people harmed by vaccines, including autistic children.

The Natural Solutions Foundation, http://www.HealthFreedomUSA.org, is a leading health freedom advocacy organization. They have mounted significant opposition to these pro-illness bills through grass-roots campaigns. More than 80 percent of Americans used nutritional supplements to deal with premature aging and chronic diseases of under nutrition like cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and stroke, auto-immune diseases, asthma and arthritis. These diseases are increasingly common and produce huge profits for the pharmaceutical industry. Despite this, the safest, cheapest and most effective approach for each of them is nutritional supplementation, not pharmaceutical treatment.

Big Pharma's nearly $800 million Congressional lobbying investment has apparently bought enough friends to create this legislative assault on natural health choices. Just as in the mid 1990's when millions of health-focused Americans flooded Congress to assure passage of DSHEA, the tide of public health concern is rising against this Congressional assault on its health freedom.

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