Your Supplements Are Under Attack: Time to Fight Back!
A few weeks ago, I wrote to you about the FDA’s proposed new policy on dietary supplements that could make it impossible or very expensive for you to purchase the natural products you rely on to support your health. The open comment period on the FDA’s proposed guidelines ends on September 30, so NOW is the time to act and let your voice be heard if you want to retain your right to access supplements. (Scroll down to the bottom of this article to learn how you can get involved.)
If the FDA has its way, all vitamins, herbs and other dietary supplements will soon be classified in the same manner as unapproved drugs and synthetic food additives. The results of this change in classification could be disastrous for both natural health consumers and the natural health industry. Resveratrol, CoQ10, curcumin and even many multivitamins could be pulled from the market, and those that remain available may become so expensive that many people won’t be able to afford them. Supplement companies that cannot afford to put their products through the FDA’s intensive, burdensome drug trial process may be forced out of business, leaving room for pharmaceutical companies to swoop in and profit at your expense.
You know that Big Pharma is surely working hard behind the scenes to make sure that this law is passed, and that they carry incredible influence with the FDA and the government in general. This means that we all need to work together and use the power of the people to stop this from happening. Unless we stop these new guidelines from going in to effect, we stand to lose our right to access the natural healing tools that many of us depend on as alternatives to expensive and often dangerous pharmaceutical drugs.
This also means that the government will have even more say in telling us how we should manage our individual health, and of course, this means the bureaucrats will require additional funding in order to do so. Well, not to worry, the FDA is already working on getting more financial backing from Big Pharma. Apparently, it’s not enough that drug companies already fund 60% of the FDA’s costs associated with the drug review process. The Alliance for Natural Health reports:
Increasingly Pharma is funding the FDA. No wonder the agency seems to dance to their tune.
The Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) authorizes the FDA to collect fees from companies, allegedly to fund and expedite the drug approval process, but really to pay the agency’s bills. Under this authority, pharmaceutical companies pay fees for certain new human drug applications, biologics applications, and supplements submitted to the agency for review — and the FDA’s review of an application cannot begin until the fee has been submitted.
The law was enacted in 1992, and Congress needs to renew it every ten years; the next deadline for renewal is September 2012. To make this happen, the FDA has been performing its usual ritual of begging and blustering at the same time.
The FDA has been discussing a raise in the FDA “user” fees with industry since July 2010; in fact, Big Pharma had already agreed to a 6% increase in fees for new drugs through 2017. The increase is expected to produce an additional $40.4 million in user fee revenue in fiscal 2012, bringing the fiscal 2013 total to $712.8 million.
Nothing about this is good news. The issue of conflicts of interest aside, the statistics speak for themselves — more money spent on regulating health care does not yield a healthier population. Last week, Dr. Joseph Mercola published an article titled, “Two Charts That Prove the Government Is Making You Sick.” As he explains in the article, health statistics from the OECD demonstrate that “the more a country spends on health care, the less healthy it tends to be.”
The first chart shows the health care expenditures per capita of various developed nations, with the U.S. spending the most.
Now I’m just speculating here, but I wonder if the reason that the U.S. lags behind other nations in life expectancy has anything to do with the vast numbers of early deaths attributable to pharmaceutical drugs. As I recently reported, according to leading experts, over 100,000 people die each year from FDA-approved over-the-counter or prescription drugs, and more than 700,000 more end up in an emergency room as a result of a drug side effect. Meanwhile, according to the government’s own National Poison Data System, not a single death was attributed to vitamin, mineral, amino acid or herbal supplement use in the U.S. in 2008 or 2009, the most recent years for which data is available.
It’s all rather mind-boggling. Clearly, the FDA is biased against supplements, but why? One could easily argue that any agency that gets 60% of its funding from Big Pharma is going to do everything it can to support that industry. To not enact policies to prop up Big Pharma would be literally suicidal for the FDA. In the end of the day, it seems to me that the FDA, and their close friends, the pharmaceutical companies are getting very nervous about the growing popularity of dietary supplements (which they regard as competition for drugs) and the growing number of Americans deciding to take their health into their own hands.
Well, if you’re as confused and angered by all of this as I am, I encourage you to make your voice heard. Remember, the comment period on the FDA’s proposed guidelines ends on September 30. The Alliance for Natural Health USA (ANH-USA) is spearheading lobbying efforts and filing lawsuits to challenge the FDA’s proposed guidelines. Visit their action center to learn more.
Here are just a few examples of what you can do to help:
Write, email or call your senators, representatives and the FDA. ANH-USA makes it incredibly easy. You can submit a customizable letter directly from their site and locate the number for your local elected officials and view some suggested talking points.
Support the Alliance for Natural Health USA. If you are able, make a donation to the Alliance for Natural Health. Every little bit helps support their efforts to protect access to natural health treatments and information. Visit their website for more information.
Share this information with everyone you know! Send them this article or post it on your Facebook wall. We need to get every American who values health and freedom on board.
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Article updated on: September 19th, 2011