Today, on June 21, 2007, is the 10th anniversary of the Chemnitz program. On to 21, 1997, I had given my first major presentation in Europe - in the City Hall of the German town Chemnitz.
This talk marked not only the beginning of our work in Europe, but was also important for another reason: for the first time in history, someone dared to name the pharmaceutical industry as what it is - an industry that is thriving on the promotion of diseases.
Amazingly, never before the sobering analysis had been made publicly that the pharmaceutical industry - the very industry that for decades had built a worldwide monopoly as the "exclusive purveyor of health" - that this very industry is the biggest obstacle to achieve human health!
Those among you who did not know us, yet, at that time can look up this programmatic speech on the web site of our foundation at
There had been a good reason that this talk was given in Germany. After all, this country had been the leading export nation of pharmaceutical products at that time. Thus, it was right in the lion's cage where these appalling facts were revealed for the first time.
After this exposure, things moved fast. Only 16 months later, the reign of German Chancellor Helmut Kohl ended. For 16 years this man had been the "political conductor" orchestrating the interests of the pharmaceutical investment business to cement its global grip on human health. Moreover, less than two years after this speech, Germany was no longer the leading export nation of the pharmaceutical business with disease.
In the 10 years since Chemnitz, the perception of the people of the world about the pharmaceutical business changed fundamentally. While a decade ago, this industry still paraded like a shiny Rolls-Royce on a sunny day - today all that false glamour is gone. Justified public criticism of the unscrupulous business with disease has become a national pastime in many countries.
One thing is clear: without our continuous public health education this global perception change would not have taken place. Without our global efforts there would be no critical books on the best seller lists of the New York Times (e.g. Dr. Angell's "The Truth About the Drug Companies") nor any critical movies by John LeCarre ("The Constant Gardner") or Michael Moore ("Sicko").
Without our global health education campaign vitamins and other micronutrients would still not be considered genuine alternatives to the largely ineffective and economically strangulating pharmaceutical business with disease. These natural health approaches would still be like a "sleeping beauty", silenced by the economic interests of the multibillion dollar business with patented pharmaceutical drugs.
This is why today, on this anniversary, we have every reason to look back with pride on our work. Through our courageous and persistent efforts we have helped thousands, perhaps, millions of people - and saved the lives of many of them.
This is day is also a good occasion to look forward to the next stage of our mission. Our goal is to establish our achievements as irreversible and to build a lasting global health care system that places the health interests of millions of people above the profit interests of a few pharmaceutical shareholders.
Also in the name of Dr. Niedzwiecki, I would like to thank all our employees, the members of our global Health Alliance and our friends all over the world - without your commitment we would not be celebrating this anniversary.
I'm looking forward to realize - together with you - our next common goal: "Health for All by the Year 2020."
Sincerely, Dr. Rath