Press release MayDay - Civil Health Rights Movement, Denmark
By: Tamara Theresa Mosegaard
October 3, 2005
The Danish physician and health consultant, Carsten Vagn-Hansen, better known in Denmark as 'the radio doctor', received a fine of 10,000 DKr. last year for publicly writing about the health effects of dietary supplements, on the internet. He refused to pay the fine and instead took The Food Administration to Court. He won the case in September of this year.
Around 100 public listeners were in the Court room on Friday September 16 2005, to support the popular health speaker, whom - naturally - won the case. The opponent, The Food Region under the Food Administration, had the right to appeal the Court's decision until September 30, but this opportunity was not taken, so the case is therefore settled, and concludes that the Danish citizens may speak publicly about the health benefits of dietary supplements.
The supplement legislation of the Danish Food Administration have since autumn 2004 dictated, that if a dietary supplement has a beneficial, preventive, or therapeutic effect, then it must be registered as a pharmaceutical product. The restrictive legislation of the Food Administration is adopting the coming Pharmaceutical Directive of the European Union, in ahead of time.
The pharmaceutical legislation may cause huge problems in having access to harmless supplements that have a beneficial, preventive, or therapeutic effect.
The Food Administration had control of more than 150 websites in December 2004, that contained information about dietary supplements and alternativ therapies, and the website of Carsten Vagn-Hansen was analysed by the Food Administration taskforce, The Supplement Group, after which the Food Region reported the doctor to the Medical Board for 'illegal health claims.' Carsten Vagn ˆHansen was then fined 10,000 DKr. for having spoken about the beneficial effects of micro organisms, the natural sweetener, Stevia, Saint John's Wort, and glyco nutrients, on the Internet.
Carsten Vagn-Hansen has always, throughout his career as a medical doctor and health consultant, been financially independent of any supplement and pharmaceutical industries, and has never received any payments from such companies, for recommending their products.
Because of ideological reasons he refused to pay the fine and wanted the case tried in Court, as he wanted to draw attention to the restrictive, Danish, supplement legislation ˆ thinking they should be debated and changed.
He found it illogical that one could sell a supplement, but not be allowed to tell about its effects, even if the effects were well documented. The case is a very important one for the freedom of speech in Denmark, as it states, that the Food Administration has no right to prohibit Danish citizens telling about the beneficial effects of dietary supplements. Had the doctor not won the case, he would have been ready to appeal the case to higher Courts, e.g. the European Court of Human Rights in Strassbourg, if necessary.
MayDay has supported Carsten Vagn-Hansen, as we found the fine an unreasonable attack on citizens' freedom of speech. Furthermore, we find it most unfortunate if the Court case has resulted in Carsten Vagn-Hansen being fired from his job at the Danish State Radio (DR) in June 2005. Many listeners will now miss Carsten Vagn-Hansen's voice in DR. For years he has been the most popular and brave speaker about natural health and health freedom, who has dared to speak up against the very powerful pharmaceutical industry in Denmark.
Carsten Vagn-Hansen is happy about the Court's decision, which has now given him the opportunity to start TV programs on the TV channel DK4, where he will be having a one-hour show every week including having people with health problems coming to the studio.