By Byron J. Richards, CCN
May 29, 2008
The brotherhood of Big Pharma’s weight loss cartel is taking direct aim at your health freedom and natural options to help you lose weight. They have submitted a petition to the FDA requesting that all claims that dietary supplements promote, assist, or otherwise help in weight loss are disease claims. The goal is to eliminate competition for dietician services, drugs, and surgery in the multi-billion dollar weight loss industry. It is a blatant attack on health freedom and free commerce – a significant threat that the Big Pharma-friendly FDA is sure to seriously consider.
Immediate consumer action is needed. Steps to take are provided at the end of this article. Defeating this Big Pharma proposal will require an all out grassroots consumer effort. Various health freedom organizations such as the National Health Federation and Citizens for Health have already taken the lead in this effort.
This specific attack is part of an overall campaign in which the FDA plays a major negative role, seeking to reduce your access to dietary supplements. The FDA is actively participating on an international basis (CODEX) and regional basis (FDA Trilateral Cooperation Charter/SPP/North American Union) to circumvent existing U.S. laws (DSHEA) so as to undermine your access to natural health options. In the face of this current attack even the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), who often comes down on the wrong side of regional and international health freedom issues, has stated that it will vigorously defend the dietary supplement industry’s legal right to make factual weight loss claims.
Who is Behind the Attack?
The effort is led by a consortium tied to drug and surgery profits. It is headed by a division of Britain’s big drug company – GlaxcoSmithKline. GSK Consumer Healthcare is the maker of the fat-blocking weight loss drug named Alli, the drug that makes you poop in your pants. Apparently a citizenry wearing diapers should be the only FDA-allowed solution for obesity. Not only does the drug reduce the absorption of dietary fat by interfering with the natural digestive activity of your pancreas, it reduces the absorption of vital fat-soluble nutrients and induces changes in colon cells that are the first steps in cancer-related changes – none of which seems to bother the FDA (as what is left of its reputation is already on the line having approved the drug).
I might point out that GSK is also the maker of the disastrous diabetes drug, Avandia, which is associated with a 43% increased risk of heart-related death. Yes, the FDA has left this drug on the market as well – with a black box warning appended to its label.
Other members of the cartel include:
1) Shaping America’s Health, a public relations front group of the American Diabetes Association.
2) The Obesity Society, a group of Big Pharma-sponsored professionals that work closely with Shaping America’s Health to present science in a way that promotes drugs and surgery as the solution for weight loss.
3) The American Dietetic Association, the anti-vitamin diet group that wants to legally own the word “nutritionist” in every state so that you have no options for health whatsoever.
If you like, you can click on this link to read their pathetic FDA weight loss petition.
This Attack Must Be Defeated
Don’t think for a moment that the FDA will use common sense when evaluating this Big-Pharma petition. The FDA would approve it in a heartbeat if it thought it could get away with it. FDA management is doing everything in its power to reduce consumer access to dietary supplements and the legitimate science about how the supplements work.
In some ways this attack is a trial balloon. If successful it will open a floodgate of similar petitions that have the net effect of further undermining your first amendment right to information that can safely and effectively improve your health. The goal is to stop the use of dietary supplements while promoting the use of drugs and surgery. It is a matter of money, power, and control – not at all in your best health interests.
Unfortunately, FDA management is a revolving door with the industry it is supposed to be regulating. When FDA managers do a “good job” they are rewarded with big salaries in the world of Big Pharma. I don’t doubt for a minute that behind the scenes conversations have taken place between key FDA employees and those filing this petition.
The odd thing about this attack is that it is likely to bring together various parties in the dietary supplement industry that have not seen eye to eye on a variety of health freedom issues since DSHEA was passed in 1994. This is the first time in many years that an attack has been so blatantly obvious that virtually everyone in the industry is able to smell the skunk.
Take Action Now
Your voice is important and it is the primary way the FDA will gauge the strength of the opposition to this petition. The FDA is “image conscious” and already has a very tattered reputation. The FDA must know there is massive public opposition to this Big Pharma-sponsored petition to limit your access to weight management dietary supplements.
The FDA provides on its website a public comment form regarding this petition. By clicking on the following link you will go to this comment form.
Before you do so, copy the following sample letter so you can paste it into the comment box on the FDA form. Of course, you can modify this letter as desired and add any additional comments you may wish to make.
Re: Docket No. 2008-P-0248-0001
To Whom It May Concern:
I am an individual consumer who is adamantly opposed to Docket No. 2008-P-0248-0001, the Citizen Petition filed by GlaxoSmithKline requesting that dietary-supplement weight-loss claims be classified as "disease claims."
I know full well that eating properly and exercising regularly are the foundation for my weight management efforts. Additionally, I want the option to choose to use dietary supplements to assist me in ways that are appropriate for my personal health. I want free access to such options along with factual information about how they may be of help.
The petition filed by GlaxoSmithKline and others is a blatant attempt to reduce or eliminate competition for services, drugs, and surgery that these groups promote. It is not the role of the FDA to interfere in free commerce.
I, like many Americans, are perfectly capable of evaluating information and making a decision about how I would like to manage my own health. I do not need regulations that block my access to information and reduce my understanding of how dietary supplements may support my metabolism and weight management efforts.
Thank you, and I look forward to your earliest reply.