LONDON 30 January 2004 - The London High Court ruled today that the case against the European food supplements directive may be referred to the European Court of Justice. Mr Justice Richards ruled that there is "an arguable case" and that reference [of the the matter] to the EU Court of Justice "is plainly appropriate and should be made as soon as possible".
"This is an important breakthrough in our battle to secure diversity in medicine and broad availability of natural health options for people across Europe", says Ivan Ingrilli, chairman of La Leva di Archimede, a group that has been active for years and has challenged the directive both with the European Parliament and the Commission in the early stages of discussion.
There is a BBC News report on the court's decision.
And here a statement of the Alliance for Natural Health, one of the groups that have won the day in court.
ALLIANCE FOR NATURAL HEALTH
OBTAINS REFERENCE TO EUROPEAN COURT
ON FOOD SUPPLEMENTS BAN
An English High Court judge ruled yesterday that the legislative powers of the European Commission should be examined by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.
Separate landmark cases brought by the Alliance for Natural Health and two UK industry associations were successful both in getting permission for Judicial Review and obtaining a reference to the European Court of Justice in their challenge to the legality of the Food Supplements Directive ban on nutrients.
Mr Justice Richards gave decisive judgment yesterday afternoon after having examined the voluminous evidence filed and considered detailed legal arguments. He emphasised that the reference to the European Court should be made without delay given that the ban proposed by Brussels legislators takes effect from 1 August 2005.
Up to 5000 vitamin and mineral products in the UK alone will be lost, negatively impacting manufacturers, retailers, practitioners and consumers reliant on these products across Europe.
Industry and complementary health organisations around Europe are hopeful that the European Court of Justice will give its ruling prior to the imposition of the ban next year.
David Hinde, Solicitor and Legal Director of the Alliance for Natural Health says:
“This is a test case on the proper scope of the legislative powers of the Community Legislator over member states and has far reaching implications for health as well as freedom of choice.
Other countries like the UK with advanced markets for supplements such as Sweden, Ireland and the Netherlands all stand to benefit if ANH’s arguments are accepted by the European Court.”
Dr Robert Verkerk, Executive Director of the Alliance for Natural Health says: “This court decision is a victory for millions of consumers of advanced food supplements, many of whom have found good health using nutrition as a central approach. We are hopeful that the Court in Luxembourg will invalidate the unnecessary ban on the wide range of perfectly safe natural, food-derived ingredients which comprise most of the advanced food supplements. The proposed ban is wholly unnecessary and works counter to health policy where nutrition is increasingly seen as a key way forward.”
JOHN HAMMELL of International Advocates for Health Freedom, USA, WAS THERE and here is what he's sent out to his list.
Today in London I witnessed a historic victory over the Pharma Cartel, and would like to thank those of you who so generously donated to ANH's legal campaign.
We can now apply for interim relief to stop the directive, pending the hearing we will now be getting in the European Court of Justice at a later, as yet undetermined date.
ANH's attorney Conor Quigley QC delivered a flawless argument to which we could see the Judge nodding his assent, which gave us all a real feeling of hope going into the lunch break. The real hub of the case was the recognition that the directive produced by the European Commission went much further than it needed to to achieve what it set out to do, which was harmonize products across Europe.
(In other words, the ban of around 5000 products containing vitamins and minerals in the UK alone, could well be illegal- not to mention the blockade on products being exported from the United States.) What ANH now will be doing is proving in the EU Court of Justice that the Directive is invalid because its illegally brought in the bans on the back of a harmonizing directive.
The result if ANH wins at the next stage will be that any country in the EU can continue using products that go beyond the restrictions imposed by the positive list. So places like the UK, Holland, Sweden and Ireland can remain safe havens for innovative products.
The fascinating thing is that people in Denmark, Germany, France, Spain and Italy, all of which have highly restrictive regimes, are now getting behind ANH because they value access to innovative products and nutritional therapies.
We may have had a victory today, but this is the beginning of a long road, and its going to be won by consumers around the world taking control of these issues by getting behind such organizations as IAHF, ANH, Mayday, La Leva di Archimede, National Health Federation, and others which are untainted by Pharma Influence.
We still have some way to go to pay legal bills to date, so please continue to give whatever you can to pay the best legal team in Europe which was there for you today and are still owed fees. Donations can be made via http://www.alliance-natural-health.org
I'll be in the UK for another few days, and will provide additional information shortly, including photos which I'll be uploading to the IAHF website.
John Hammell, reporting live from the UK
For background on how the European health battle fits into the world scenery of a pharmaceutically inspired destruction of natural health options, see John Hammell's interview, published on TheHealthCrusader
See also press reports:
Crackdown on vitamins challenged - The Independent
Court victory for vitamin firms - BBC News
Vitamins battle to go to Europe Telegraph
And some related history:
La Leva di Archimede to Europarliamentarians on Directive about to be passed
Health Freedom March in London scheduled for 15 June