$25 Million Lawsuit Delayed Alleging State of Florida is in Violation of Cease and Desist Order Issued by NNC

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A ten-day extension in the matter of the Naturopathic National Council, Inc. vs. the State of Florida was granted, leaving the growing numbers of Floridians interested in responsible health care that does not include potentially harmful drugs and surgery in limbo just a bit longer.

A ten-day extension in the matter of the Naturopathic National Council, Inc. vs. the State of Florida (Case No.: 4:06cv428-RH/WCS) was granted, leaving the growing numbers of Floridians interested in responsible health care that does not include potentially harmful drugs and surgery in limbo just a bit longer.

The essence of the issue to be decided in a Tallahassee courtroom comes down to two questions: Should the practice of naturopathy be allowed in the State of Florida? And in a related question, who is the licensing authority for traditional naturopaths, the Naturopathic National Council, Inc. (as recognized by the federal government), or the State of Florida? Naturopathy is defined in Stedman’s Medical Dictionary, a nationally recognized authority, as a system of therapeutics in which neither surgical nor ‘inorganic’ medical agents (pharmaceuticals) are used. The Naturopathic National Council, Inc. of Stamford, CT is the only body authorized by the United States government to confer a license to a Naturopathic Physician or Doctor of Naturopathy, N.D.™, under federal trademark registration No. 3,047,099, the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and the Dormant Commerce Clause.

As the law stands currently, the use of either title by individuals licensed by the state to provide services is a violation of the Lanham Trademark Act and an infringement upon the NNC’s certification mark. The Florida Medical Association reports that, in the 1920’s, the State of Florida began licensing naturopaths, but ended the process in 1959. In 1985, all individuals who were licensed in 1959 were granted active licenses under a grandfather clause. Basically, the State of Florida has declared that one needs a license to practice naturopathy but provides no means by which to legally earn one since it doesn’t recognize the licenses conferred by the NNC and approved by the federal government through the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Only those individuals with the designation N.D. after their names and who are licensed by the NNC have met the extensive, stringent education and training requirements of the Naturopathic National Council, Inc. That leaves the State of Florida with only a scant handful of people – seven for the entire state - legally practicing today under Florida's law. However, those individuals are under constant threat of legal action for trademark infringement because they are not licensed by the NNC.

With ever increasing concern among Floridians about unresponsive HMOs, expensive pharmaceuticals with alarming side effects and unnecessary surgical procedures, the unmet demand for qualified naturopathic health providers is exploding. According to Beverly Betancur, N.D., Chief Executive Officer of the Naturopathic National Council, every effort has been made to inform the appropriate authorities, including State Senator Burt L. Saunders (Rep., District 37) Chair of the Florida Senate's Health and Human Services Appropriations Committee, Governor Jeb Bush and others that they are in violation of a Cease and Desist Order referenced in the lawsuit. According to the lawsuit, the state is defying federal authority and denying many of its constituents the type of health care options they want and need, and this issue will be decided in a Tallahassee court.

More information can be obtained from the Naturopathic National Council, Inc. web site: Naturopathic National Council

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Beverly Betancur, N.D.
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