I am all in favour of drug safety and regulation, of course, but I recently heard some news that concerns me, to put it mildly. A friend sent me a Life Extension Foundation article on the controversial “Food and Drug Administration Revitalization Act” (S1082), sponsored by Sen. Kennedy with the support of Sen. Enzi. It has already passed a Senate subcommittee and will soon (tomorrow???) go to the Senate floor.
This “Revitalization” Act gives new powers to the FDA that could affect all of us who are taking supplements. If the bill passes, the FDA would no longer be a theoretically impartial agency that is supposed to regulate drug safety: It would officially and unambiguously put the U.S. government in the drug business, where it could license pharmaceuticals and collect royalties on their sale. For obvious reasons, this is a particularly dangerous situation for consumers. Government should be regulating drug companies, not joining them as partners in profit. (quoted from: http://www.newstarget.com/021811.html) With this bill, impartiality goes out the window. Furthermore, taxpayers will foot the bill for drug development and then be charged outrageous prices for the drugs. [ ] This new bill panders to concerns of Americans regarding the safety of drugs. This legitimate worry is used by Kennedy and Enzi to garner support when in reality the bill does just the opposite – exposing Americans to almost unfathomable new drug risks and dangers while simultaneously making it possible to remove super safe, therapeutic, and helpful dietary supplements. (from http://tinyurl.com/33bclq).
The worst part is that, based on S1082, the FDA could classify as drugs any vitamins, supplements, herbs and other natural substances, even water when it is used to “treat” dehydration. Water? Gimme me a break! So we might not be able to obtain any of our supplements without a medical prescription. Not to mention the rise in cost to us consumers. Would we be able to afford a simple bottle of multivitamins? Would I be able to afford my curcumin? Does this make ANY sense? You can read the full text of S1082 at: http://tinyurl.com/2kqx9j And if you would like to do something about it, please please please go to: http://www.lef.org/featured-articles/consumer_alert_042707.htm. This LEF page enables you to send an e-mail to your representatives and senators telling them to vote NO on this awful bill. Just click on the take action now button. Or call your senators and let them know how you feel about this. Please do it. Now.
Have you heard of any opposition to S.1082 from big pharma, any advertisement, any web pages in opposition? No? Neither have I, and I have searched. What does this tell you? Here is the government going into the business of developing drugs, in competition (ostensibly) with big pharma, and they don’t utter a word of objection. It tells me that big pharma has been very much involved in the drafting of this bill and they have stuff in there that will help them. The government and big pharma are possibly colluding to screw the general public.
Certainly one thing that big pharma would like is to get their hands on the non-prescription drug business, which other law preserves for the supplement industry and which specifically excludes the FDA from interfering. Could it be that there is a covert plan for the FDA, through the new law that might come from S.1082 to put all the supplement sellers out of business by declaring that any supplement that actually shows some effect in the treatment of an illnes would be declared a drug and subject to the jurisdiction of the FDA. They might even require that they can only be sold by big pharma and by prescription. After all, if it actually does help to treat an illness then it is no different than any prescription drug that the FDA requires an extensive clinical trial program to verify safety and efficacy before it can be sold. So these efficaceous non-regulated supplements (like curcumin, and many others) have slipped in under the door and are actually being used to treat illness, only they can’t be advertised as so doing. Well, thinks the FDA (in my belief), we have to put a stop to that and we must turn all those efficaceous substances over to the “ethical” drug industry to deliver to the public (at greatly increased cost). In fact, the new not for profit foundation to be set up by this bill will in fact fund the trials and tests to prove that the suspect supplement is in fact efficaceous and is being used without regulation by the all mighty, and all benevolent (?) FDA. So they use taxpayer funds to conduct programs to prove that some substances the public now enjoys should be taken away from them, then the FDA will license to big pharma the manufacture and distribution of those same substances that the public now buys for a pittance, compared to what it will cost when big pharma sells them to us. That is one reason why I believe that big pharma is so silent on this bill. It will not mean more competition to them, it will mean the elimination of present competition from supplement sellers and it will mean a whole new series of new products for them, handed to them by the benevolent FDA!!!
Get busy, phone, write, pigeonhole your senator and congressman and help defeat this monstrous bill. Send Margaret’s posting on to everyone on your mail list. Fight for your rights to safeguard your own health. No one else will.
This Act could have World Health Ramifications.
Good on you for publicising it, Margaret.