By Byron J. Richards, CCN
December 5, 2006
Today I received an e-mail from the Natural Products Association (NPA) asking me to support the Dietary Supplement and Non-Prescription Drug Consumer Protection Act (the “AER bill”). Apparently they do not know I am one of the most outspoken critics of this legislation. I have already posted two articles on this topic for NWV, one in July and one in November. The NPA, formerly the NNFA (National Nutritional Foods Association), is the largest trade association for ingredient suppliers and health food stores. This group, along with CRN (the Council for Responsible Nutrition) has been taken over by Big Pharma and is selling out the supplement industry.
You as a consumer must weigh in on this subject before it is too late. Your options for effective natural solutions are in serious jeopardy. Immediate action is required to defend health freedom and your right to have therapeutic choices in natural health options.
Unfortunately, it is up to “we the American people” to save the supplement industry from traitorous groups pretending to be on your side. There is a serious attempt underway to push this bill through prior to the close of the lame duck session (apparently to end on December 8). Click here to take action now, tell your congressional leaders to vote no on S. 3546/H.R. 6168.
This is what the December 4, 2006, NPA e-mail stated:
We’re contacting you because an important bill may soon be voted on in Congress. This legislation, which the Natural Products Association – along with the other leading dietary supplement trade groups – supports, is, S. 3546 in the Senate and H.R. 6168 in the House of Representatives.
Yes, these are the names of the bills and they are rotten to the core for consumers and the supplement industry.
Contrary to what you may have heard, this legislation will not affect the availability of dietary supplements or lead to closures of health food stores.
Wrong, an outright lie! This legislation may drastically reduce the availability of therapeutic supplements by linking them with adverse effects actually caused by drugs. True, health food stores are not likely to close. They will keep selling the lower quality Big Pharma brands, like One-A-Day (Bayer) and Centrum (Wyeth). About 80% of the supplement market is not really concerned about your health; this includes big box stores, most network marketing companies, drug stores, super markets, and internet fly-by-night operations. Big Pharma knows these brands pose no competition to their monopolistic drug cartel. Rather, Big Pharma wants all effective nutrition off the market – the really great products that fix diabetes, resolve depression, prevent heart disease, enable weight loss, fix fibromyalgia, and help a person survive cancer treatment. Big Pharma wants a sick America and will do anything to keep people in poor health and on multiple toxic drugs.
It’s also important to remember that the legislation would require only serious – such as life threatening– experiences, not just any complaint, to be reported. And keep in mind that the government already tracks adverse experiences that could be related to dietary supplements.
The FDA is currently unable to properly track adverse events caused by drugs and does not even know which drugs are safe. Over 100,000 Americans are killed each year by drugs, and at least 3 million are injured so severely it requires hospitalization. The FDA already has an adequate MedWatch reporting system for serious adverse events for dietary supplements. The proposed bill calls for supplement manufacturers to keep track of all complaints any person reports, serious or not, a standard far stricter than truly dangerous drugs! This is absolutely absurd.
If such legislation becomes law it will be used as a vehicle for the FDA to remove supplements from the market based on hearsay data. There is no mechanism in place for any supplement company to collect health information on the person reporting, including existing medications or health history. This means the legislation can and will be used as a witch hunt against effective natural options for health. Certainly, the lawyers at NPA and those supporting this bill are licking their chops at all the business this legislation will generate for them.
What’s new is that manufacturers who get reports of consumers being seriously harmed by their products can’t keep them secret. While we believe such occurrences are extremely rare, if they do happen, reporting is the right thing to do.
True serious adverse events from dietary supplements are extremely rare and already covered by MedWatch. Any medical doctor or patient believing a supplement has injured them can easily fill out a MedWatch form. No one has any objection to serious AER reporting. That is not what this bill is really all about. It is about gutting DSHEA (Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994), the legislation that enables American consumers to have more options for health than in any other country in the world. By implying there is a safety problem (which there isn’t) and making supplement companies defend themselves, the burden of proof is shifted from the FDA to supplement companies, thereby drastically changing existing law in favor of Big Pharma and away from access to natural health options granted by DSHEA. The FDA already does what it can to discriminate against small and innovative companies.
If H.R. 6168 and S. 3546 are passed and become law, they will amend the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to require the reporting of “serious” adverse events for both over the counter (OTC) drugs and dietary supplements to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
That is true. However, there is no way to differentiate between drug-drug interactions, drug-nutrient interactions, or food poisoning, meaning there is no way to accurately judge what is causing a problem. Furthermore, the real issue is the safety of drugs, not supplements. Until the FDA has a working system for drug safety, there is no way for the FDA to judge supplement safety. There is a reason the Institute of Medicine reported that the FDA is dysfunctional and not able to protect Americans from harm. Its drugs!!!! – not vitamins.
While the Natural Products Association understands that the mandatory reporting requirements of the AER bill will add to manufacturers’ record keeping responsibilities, we believe the bill will benefit the industry in the long run.
This opinion must be coming from the lawyers that stand to make a fortune defending supplement companies from frivolous attacks relating to non-serious adverse events. Also, doctors will attempt to blame vitamins for the devastating side effects of their commonly prescribed medications. Dangerous drugs, like statins, are in widespread use and making many Americans very ill and even causing premature death. When someone has heart failure from taking statins, doctors will try to blame it on vitamin E. It would be a major travesty to pass legislation that allows the side effects of dangerous drugs to be reported in such as way as to remove safe and effective supplements from the market. The Big Pharma goal is to maintain its monopoly at any cost. It is an agenda based on drug sales and a callous disregard for human life.
First, by helping to change the perception by critics of the dietary supplement industry that it is not well regulated.
This is the Big Lie. The truth is that supplements are safer than food. Supplements are not drugs. Critics of the dietary supplement industry are all getting a pile of money from Big Pharma and they pretend to be upset about network marketing companies making bogus health claims, companies with a history of paying off Senators Hatch and Harkin for protection. Since most of these companies that seemingly cause problems are members of CRN and NNFA, why don’t these junk trade organizations clean up their own members? There is no need to put out of business the many nutritional companies providing a true quality service to millions of Americans in true need of real help, unless of course you are simply trying to put your own competition out of business.
Second, over time, the recordkeeping and reporting requirements will substantiate what many in the industry have been saying all along – that the safety record of dietary supplements is exemplary, especially when compared to other health-related products.
Obviously, true serious AERs will be very infrequent, unlike the several thousand people dying each week at the hands of Big Pharma. However, the recordkeeping requirement for non-serious adverse events opens the door for unlimited FDA harassment of any company. Since the FDA is currently bought and paid for by Big Pharma, that is a huge problem.
Ultimately, safety reporting is the right thing to do for a responsible industry that puts consumers first.
In a world where Big Pharma and the FDA have spent decades trying to obliterate competition, such a naïve statement is designed to appeal to “reasonableness” and “political correctness.” NPA has no concept of integrity to the US Constitution or what makes America great. If anyone wants to believe the utopian garbage put forth by NPA, try to get the statement to apply to Big Pharma.
The e-mail is then signed by the Natural Products Association. Yes, not one person in this pathetic group had the nerve to put their name on this embarrassing e-mail. I wonder who wrote it. Was it Senator Hatch’s younger son who works at NPA? Was it Senator Hatch’s older son who lobbies for NPA? Or was it one of the Big Pharma members sitting on the NPA board? Companies supporting this horrid legislation and the related anti-American globalization agenda of Codex Alimentarius include Mannatech, Herbalife, Shacklee, Now Foods, Dr. Weil Vitamins, Jarrow, and many more.
Besides faxing, phoning, and e-mailing Congress to vote no on S.3546, any person purchasing supplements should demand that whomever they buy supplements from is not a member of CRN or NPA. Health food stores and ingredient suppliers should withdraw from these bogus Big Pharma pro-globalization organizations. If you need more facts to convince you of the magnitude of this problem, read my book Fight for Your Health: Exposing the FDA’s Betrayal of America. If you buy supplements from such companies or stores then answer this simple question: why are you paying money to be shot in the back?
© 2006 Truth in Wellness, LLC - All Rights Reserved
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Byron J. Richards, Founder/Director of Wellness Resources, is a Board-Certified Clinical Nutritionist and nationally-renowned health expert, radio personality, educator, and author.
Richards encourages individuals to take charge of their health, stand up for their health rights, and not blindly succumb to propaganda from the vested-interests who profit from keeping Americans sick. Author of Mastering Leptin and Fight for Your Health, Richards is now joining forces with health freedom leaders in the U.S. and throughout the world. Visit his health blog for up to date happenings. www.truthinwellness.com
As founder of Wellness Resources, Inc. of Minneapolis, MN (since 1985), he has personally developed 75 unique nutraceutical-grade nutritional formulas. www.wellnessresources.com
Charter Member of the International and American Associations of Clinical Nutritionists (IAACN) (since 1991) Richards has presented hundreds of educational classes to health professionals and individuals who want to take charge of their health!