Health Supreme by Sepp Hasslberger

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October 10, 2005

Danish Court Reaffirms Freedom Of Speech For 'Radio Doctor'

Danish Doctor Fights For Freedom Of Speech In Court And Wins!

According to a message from the MayDay Civil Rights and Health Movement, Danish physician and health consultant, Carsten Vagn-Hansen, better known in Denmark as 'the radio doctor', received a fine of 10,000 DKr. (more than 1300 Euro) last year for publicly writing about the health effects of dietary supplements, on the internet. He refused to pay the fine and instead took The Food Administration to Court. He won the case in September of this year.

Around 100 public listeners were in the Court room on Friday September 16 2005, to support the popular health speaker who - naturally - won the case. The opponent, The Food Region under the Food Administration, had the right to appeal the Court's decision until September 30, but this opportunity was not taken, so the decision in the case is final. It concludes that Danish citizens may speak publicly about the health benefits of dietary supplements.   

Supplement legislation drafted by the Danish Food Administration states since autumn 2004, that if a dietary supplement has a beneficial, preventive, or therapeutic effect, then it must be registered as a pharmaceutical product. The restrictive legislation of the Food Administration is adopting the coming Pharmaceutical Directive of the European Union, somewhat ahead of time.

- - -

This new EU directive revising EU pharmaceutical legislation may cause huge problems in having access to harmless supplements that have a beneficial, preventive, or therapeutic effect.

The Food Administration reviewed more than 150 websites containing information about dietary supplements and alternative therapies. One of the websites analyzed by the Food Administration taskforce, The Supplement Group, was the site of Carsten Vagn-Hansen. The Food Region reported the doctor to the Medical Board for 'illegal health claims.' Carsten Vagn-Hansen was then fined 10,000 DKr. for having spoken about the beneficial effects of micro organisms, the natural sweetener Stevia, Saint John's Wort, and glyco nutrients, on the Internet.

Carsten Vagn-Hansen has always, throughout his career as a medical doctor and health consultant, been financially independent of any supplement and pharmaceutical industries, and has never received any payments from such companies, for recommending their products.

For ideological reasons he refused to pay the fine and wanted the case tried in Court, as he wanted to draw attention to the restrictive Danish supplement legislation - thinking that it should be debated and changed.

He found it illogical that one could sell a supplement, but not be allowed to tell about its effects, even if the effects were well documented. The case is a very important one for freedom of speech in Denmark. It states that the Food Administration has no right to prohibit Danish citizens telling about the beneficial effects of dietary supplements. Had the doctor not won the case, he would have been ready to appeal the case to higher Courts and eventually to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, if necessary.

MayDay has supported Carsten Vagn-Hansen, as we found the fine an unreasonable attack on citizens' freedom of speech. Furthermore, we find it most unfortunate if the Court case has resulted in Carsten Vagn-Hansen being fired from his job at the Danish State Radio (DR) in June 2005. Many listeners will now miss the radio doctor's voice in DR. For years he has been the most popular and brave speaker about natural health and health freedom, who has dared to speak up against the very powerful pharmaceutical industry in Denmark.

Carsten Vagn-Hansen is happy about the Court's decision, which has now given him the opportunity to start TV programs on the TV channel DK4, where he will be having a one-hour show every week including having people with health problems coming to the studio.

- - - end of message by Tamara Theresa Mosegaard - - -

MayDay - Civil Health Rights Movement, Denmark

The case in Denmark ties in with yet another piece of European legislation, which is in preparation - the so-called "health claims regulation", which is being discussed in the EU's legislative corridors.

A health claim is any information provided on a (food) product label, in accompanying literature or in product advertising, which regards positive effects on our health that the food or nutritional supplement might have. The EU draft regulation aims at suppressing all statements on health effects of foods, unless such claims can be sustained with reference to double-blind clinical trials and all kinds of "scientific" backup.

If we consider that most published scientific findings are actually false, according to recent research, we can imagine what will be promoted as "true" about foods and supplements and what will be suppressed because it doesn't fit the agenda of big food and big pharma.

In the end, the claims regulation will be shielding consumers from all information concerning food and health, except information that is provided by the multinationals who can sponsor clinical trials to overcome the regulation's red tape.

That is why the case in Denmark is of great importance. It reaffirms the principle that at least information that is not specifically product connected but informs in a general way about the healthy properties of nutritional substances is not to be prohibited.

In a recent exchange of emails, Carsten Vagn-Hansen confirms this view. He writes to Chris Gupta, who forwarded the message about his court win:

"I have received a copy of your mail to Tamara Mosegaard and would like to comment on my case. It was won on a freedom of speech issue, mostly because I have no economic interest in production and sale of dietary supplements or nutritional products. But my lawyer. Susie S. Ekstrand, who is specialized in EU Law on nutritional products and in recommendations of same, told the court that both EU law and danish law is not created to apply for people who are not producing or selling supplements. That is lay persons, doctors and journalists. My position as doctor was not an issue in the trial. The clause on "marketing and marking" supplements does mot apply either. The vedict is unique in the sense that there has not been a case like it before, so it will form the basis for coming trials.

The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union says in article nr. 11:

1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart inforamtion and ides without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.

2. The freedom and pluralism of the media shall be respected.

Any other verdict than acquittal in my case would have constituted a breach of the Charter. The only way to set the Charter aside would be to claim that nutritional supplements can be harmful to a lot of people. Ron Laws very good model (see here) clearly tells that this is not so.

Am I not right that the European Charter of Fundamental Rights supersedes other laws?

If the regulations are going to be as tight as the medical industry wants them to be, are we then going to burn all books thar are recommending food and supplements against disease, and for preventing, alleviating and curing? Dark chocolate is very effective against cough, depression and it is even preventing heart disease.

- - -


posted by Sepp Hasslberger on Monday October 10 2005
updated on Tuesday December 7 2010

URL of this article:


Related Articles

Denmark To Eliminate Concept Of Supplements: 'They're All Medicines'
August 2004 - Danish Health Authorities have issued a proposed national "Guidance on Supplements" for public discussion which, according to MayDay, an association campaigning for freedom of choice in health matters, "is worse than any legislation we have ever seen before, as it will erase the concept of supplements, this actually means that Denmark is about to be the most totalitarian state experiment in Europe concerning health." The Danes refer to... [read more]
September 07, 2004 - Sepp Hasslberger

Health Claims in Europe - New Regulation Coming
The European Union is discussing a Europe-wide regulation for what in legislative parlance is called "health claims", those things that can be said about a food's or a food supplement's relation to health and about its capacity to prevent disease. The European Union - just as many national governments - is showing a rather schizofrenic attitude here: On the one hand, the conncection between food and health is becoming more... [read more]
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" Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food." Hippocrates (460-377 BC) We might say that the debate of what is food and what is medicine goes back more than two thousand years, to Hippocrates, the Greek physician who is also known as the father of modern scientific medicine. In the early 1960s, pharmaceutical medicines were in the headlines with a tragic development. Mothers who had... [read more]
September 28, 2004 - Sepp Hasslberger




Readers' Comments

This is an important gain for freedom of speech in Denmark. I think the case may have gone the other way if the Radio Doctor could have been shown to accept payments from a sales company. I am glad my grandfather emigrated to England in 1874!

Posted by: Maurice Hanssen on October 11, 2005 09:33 AM


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The Individual Is Supreme And Finds Its Way Through Intuition


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These articles are brought to you strictly for educational and informational purposes. Be sure to consult your health practitioner of choice before utilizing any of the information to cure or mitigate disease. Any copyrighted material cited is used strictly in a non commercial way and in accordance with the "fair use" doctrine.



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