Writing on the Wall - Big Brother goes after vitamins


Contributing Editor: Health Sciences Institute, 4/29/2002

Imagine dropping by your favorite health food store to find it boarded up and out of business. So you go around to your local drug mart to pick up some vitamin C, but the only dosage on the shelf is ridiculously low. The druggist informs you that 60 mg is now the maximum dosage available without a prescription. So if you've been taking a mega dosage of vitamin C to help fight heart disease or build up your immunity against cancer, you'll have to find a doctor willing to prescribe that dosage - you're no longer free to decide on your own how much of this natural vitamin you want to take.

Sounds like a nightmare? It gets worse.

Imagine that all of this is the result of new legislation imposed by lawmakers with direct ties to pharmaceutical companies - powerful companies that will use the law to create an enormous new source of profits. Now that's a real nightmare. But what makes it truly nightmarish is that, incredibly, it will soon become a reality in the United Kingdom and most of Europe - if the global pharmaceutical industry has its way.

Outlawing prevention

On March 13th the European Parliament - a 626-member legislative body representing the 15 European Union countries - passed the "EU Directive on Dietary Supplements," which classifies vitamins as medical drugs rather than food supplements. The Directive grants a transition period of three years for vitamin supplements already on the market. But in 2005, every EU country will be required to implement the Directive.

As it currently stands, in just three years a wide range of natural remedies will be banned across most of Europe, making as many as 300 ingredients - including chromium picolinate, yeast, lysine, and selenium - illegal for over-the-counter sale. Other supplements that remain in stores will contain very low dosage amounts - not enough to provide any real therapeutic value.

It's almost like they're passing a law against prevention. So not only are the pharmaceutical companies eliminating competition from natural products for treating illnesses, they are essentially forcing greater need for prescription products for citizens of the EU. After all, without prevention, where will people be forced to turn when they get even the slightest bit ill? To physicians who will prescribe mainstream pharmaceuticals or super-strength, prescription-only vitamins supplied by - guess who - the Pfizers, Mercks, and Bayers of the world.
Nothing strange about these bedfellows
To make things even worse, a number of European Union Commissioners have direct links to international pharmaceutical companies. For instance, a prominent EU Commissioner, Frits Bolkenstein of the Netherlands, is also a member of the supervisory board of the second largest pharmaceutical company in the world - Merck, Sharp and Dohme. The blatant pharmaceutical industry influence on this directive would be laughable if the consequences weren't so great.

In a smooth double-speak that's almost frightening, the EU Directive states: "In order to ensure a high level of protection for consumers and facilitate their choice, the products that will be put on the market must be safe and bear adequate and appropriate labeling."

The good news is that the "consumers" are not buying it. "Protection?" To "facilitate their choice?" More than 600 million people read that and shouted back a resounding, "No!" In what is believed to be the largest global online petition ever, a staggering 604 million people (to date) have added their names, demanding continued free access to natural remedies.
Lend your voice - no matter where you live
I have signed the petition and I encourage you to do so too if you believe the availability of natural supplements should not be controlled by the international pharmaceutical industry. Anyone can sign the petition - you don't have to be a citizen of a European Union nation to add your name - and you can find more information and read the petition at www.vitamins-for-all.org. This web site was created by Dr. Matthias Rath, a leading researcher in the field of natural treatments for cancer, and one of the most prominent campaigners against the EU Directive

And for those of you who think this is a European issue - that this couldn't happen here - consider this: the United States and the European Union are each other's largest trade and investment partners. In 2000, two-way trade in goods and services between the EU and the US totaled more than $557 billion. With economic ties this deep, any European law that gives the global pharmaceutical industry such sweeping power over the health choices of millions, will have global effects. Once they've conquered Europe, how long before they set their sights on the US marketplace? Just look at recent directives from the FDA; it's already happening.

The EU Directive is not yet law. Our HSI associates in London believe that by the time the Directive is implemented in 2005 there's a chance that the most oppressive aspects of the legislation might be eliminated, especially if enough people raise their voices and mobilize against it. But you can be certain that the Commissioners of the European Parliament, with special interests and billions of dollars in the balance, will not back down without a prolonged fight.

In the meantime, we'll be watching, and I'll keep you informed of developments as they unfold. And we encourage you to sign the petition demanding open, unrestricted access to natural medicine and supplements for ALL of us.

To Your Good Health,
Jenny Thompson

Health Sciences Institute

Sources:
Health Confidential; May 2002, Vol 1, No 3
European Union "Directive on Dietary Supplements," www.healthchoice.org.uk
European Union in the US: www.eurunion.org
Petition 450/2001: www.vitamins-for-all.org
Copyright 1997-2002 by Institute of Health Sciences, L.L.C.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only. [Ref. http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml]

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