Use (Abuse) of Regulations to Protect Pharma Monopoly
The following were comments made at the federal Standing Committee on Health. The distillation of thoughts contained here where done for a 8 minute speech and could do more for health care than the bloated "The Royal Commission on the Future of Health Care" which cost millions of dollars and is now collecting dust. Another demonstration of waste in the government that of course will never be accounted for....
Prepared by Chris Gupta May 8th, 2005 for presentation to the federal Standing Committee on Health May 9th, 2005
As a consumer and advocate I should like to speak in favour of Bill C420. This important bill expressly addresses our ability to choose nutrients without interference from governmental regulatory bloat and abuse. It is clear from the downward spiral of our health care system that regulations are more about protecting pharma monopoly than health. The purported benefits of regulations in fact have become the greatest health hazard of all. My questions specifically, on HC's strange behavior for promoting absurd and illogical drug style regulations for safe dietary supplements demonstrate this amply. Let me start by providing you:
Data from an independent risk & policy analyst Ron Law on relative safety of dietary supplements compared to causes of death in the USA:
In the Canadian context, MP Colin Carrie stated on March 9, 2005 in parliament that just allergies from peanuts alone result in approximately 5 to 10 deaths in Canada each year. By comparison, since 1960 not one death in Canada has been attributed to a natural health product.
A tablespoon dose of salt or cayenne is far more dangerous than a tablespoon dose of say vitamin C or a magnesium supplement! I invite those who don't agree to try this on themselves!
Dietary Supplements are the most benign segment of foods and should have never been separated to begin with! Bill C420 will restore these to their original rightful food category.
It is abundantly clear that nutritional supplements are far far safer than foods let alone drugs. Hence, why the urgency and insistence to regulate them?
In a new book, Death by Modern Medicine, Dr. Carolyn Dean reports for example, that the billion dollar drug advertising machine is supported by a mere 6% of actual, verifiable scientific research. Only 10 to 20% of all standard drug therapy, surgery, and chemotherapy, which form the basis of the entire modern medical system, have been found to be supported by any published science. These findings come from the leading peer reviewed medical journals.
Given that current regulations are not able to prevent the thousands of deaths from medical drugs and procedures, why and how is HC getting and wasting the inordinate resources/funds to protect us from non existent dangers of dietary supplements when these resources are so badly needed for their mandate to protect the public by regulating known toxic drugs and untested procedures?
The scientific literature is replete with nutrient deficiencies attributed to drug use. For example: pain killers i.e. NSAID's including Aspirin deplete the body of the B vitamin, Folic acid. Folic acid is already one of the most common vitamin deficiency. This deficiency increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. The Statin cholesterol lowering drugs deplete the body of Coenzyme Q10. A deficiency in CQ10 will lead to congestive heart failure. Yet HC does not seems to know or ignores these facts and does not inform the public about the serous health impairing side effects due to nutrient deficiencies from drug use. Why?
If lay people like myself can find these facts why wont or can't Health Canada, whose role is to do just that, ensure such serious deficiencies be addressed when talking drugs?
Instead we see Health Canada squandering their resources and our tax dollars by unlawfully and abusively interfering with the sale of safe natural products containing only vitamins, minerals and herbs like garlic - such as Truehope's bi-polar disorder supplement and Strauss heart drops. Could the phenomenal success and use of these nutrients be a factor? Who exactly are they protecting. It sure is not the consumer!
The absurdity of their excuse that dietary supplements prevent the use of "proper medical care" is the height of arrogance given the death and carnage from "proper medical care". Why should people, at their own expense, turn to other non medical solutions if the essentially free "proper medical care" worked in the first place?
It does not take rocket science to understand that nutrient and not drug deficiency causes disease. With so many safe non drug solutions available that, in the main, can get to the roots of disease, why then the are the generally harmful disease masking and often disease causing drugs foisted on the unsuspecting?
The really big question is: Why do supplements, proven a thousand times over in the vast medical literature to be safe and effective, need to be regulated like drugs, which are acknowledged even by their manufacturers to be toxic? Bill C-420 is again essential because it would repeal sections 3.1 and 3.2 of the Food and Drugs Act. These sections prohibit telling the truth in informational and advertising as published by mainstream science about the effectiveness of food supplements in the treatments of a wide range of health conditions. Imagine?
Why is HC not protecting us from the billion dollar, generally toxic, drug advertising machine that is merely supported by 6% of actual, verifiable scientific research?
When the risk form supplements approaches zero why are regulations to determine risk benefit ratio", bandied around by HC, required for such safe products?
Could it be that the "risk benefit ratio" is smoke and mirrors way to loosen the existing regulations for more elbow room for profits rather than health? Conveniently leaving the door wide open for all manner of food and drug adulterations?
Given the poor state and cost of our health care system and the negative impact of toxic drugs shouldn't they be investigating and promoting the much safer nutritional solutions?
Behavior extolled by HC is negligent, incompetent and inexcusable. Imagine an aeroplane crash, or telephone, electricity service interruptions without solid fact finding investigations; copious and thorough accountable incidence record keeping; and future preventative measures. These basics are the corner stones of any industry. So why not in health care?
Should Health Canada not be utilizing their resources and our tax dollars for developing and enforcing the basic health improvement measures such as accurate and thorough adverse reactions record keeping and post injury investigations? Without such measures how can effective disease reduction/improvements be made?
The demand for regulation of food-based supplements with medicinal properties is a monumental deception. Just follow the money - someone is obviously going to make a killing (pun intended) if Bill C-420 does not pass or the pro-Pharma lobby succeeds in instituting that so-called Third Category.
Clearly HC behavior is more like that of lobbyists and the apologists for the industry. Instead of protecting their constituents, they are not or unable to perform the basic duties discussed here.
Putting an agency like HC in charge of health is like a fox guarding the hens. Why do we need such a dysfunctional and dangerous regulatory body?
Bill C420 is designed to prevent unaccountable and corrupt governmental body like HC, who is clearly in bed with the pharmaceutical industry, from running rough shod over the citizens.
It is sad that we have to initiate bills like C420 or take our regulatory agencies to the courts just to force them to do their job!
posted by Chris Gupta on Wednesday May 11 2005
updated on Saturday September 24 2005
URL of this article:
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