On CAFTA and supplements

First -check this information on the Efficacy and Safety of Supplements presented by Andrew Saul, PhD to the government of Canada, House of Commons Standing Committee on Health, regarding natural health product safety (Ottawa, May 12, 2005).

and on Safety here which makes the obvious assertion that : "It’s fascinating how when there is one suspected adverse reaction to a dietary supplement it makes the headlines, and yet officials and the media are oblivious to the plethora of deaths due to properly regulated, properly prescribed and properly used drugs – not to mention avoidable deaths due to medical misadventure." (Be sure to check out the graph.)

The following is a July 19, 2005 statement on CAFTA and Supplements submitted by  Representative Ron Paul, M.D., who is Republican Congressman from Texas:

The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on the Central American Free Trade Agreement in the next two weeks, and one little-known provision of the agreement desperately needs to be exposed to public view. CAFTA, like the World Trade Organization, may serve as a forum for restricting or even banning dietary supplements in the U.S.

The Codex Alimentarius Commission, organized by the United Nations in the 1960s, is charged with “harmonizing” food and supplement rules between all nations of the world. Under Codex rules, even basic vitamins and minerals require a doctor’s prescription. The European Union already has adopted Codex-type regulations, regulations that will be in effect across Europe later this year. This raises concerns that the Europeans will challenge our relatively open market for health supplements in a WTO forum. This is hardly far-fetched, as Congress already has cravenly changed our tax laws to comply with a WTO order.

Like WTO, CAFTA increases the possibility that Codex regulations will be imposed on the American public. Section 6 of CAFTA discusses Codex as a regulatory standard for nations that join the agreement. If CAFTA has nothing to do with dietary supplements, as CAFTA supporters claim, why in the world does it specifically mention Codex?

Unquestionably there has been a slow but sustained effort to regulate dietary supplements on an international level. WTO and CAFTA are part of this effort. Passage of CAFTA does not mean your supplements will be outlawed immediately, but it will mean that another international trade body will have a say over whether American supplement regulations meet international standards. And make no mistake about it, those international standards are moving steadily toward the Codex regime and its draconian restrictions on health freedom. So the question is this: Does CAFTA, with its link to Codex, make it more likely or less likely that someday you will need a doctor’s prescription to buy even simple supplements like Vitamin C? The answer is clear. CAFTA means less freedom for you, and more control for bureaucrats who do not answer to American voters.

Pharmaceutical companies have spent billions of dollars trying to get Washington to regulate your dietary supplements like European governments do. So far, that effort has failed in America, in part because of a 1994 law called the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act. Big Pharma and the medical establishment hate this Act, because it allows consumers some measure of freedom to buy the supplements they want. Americans like this freedom, however – especially the health conscious Baby Boomers.

This is why the drug companies support WTO and CAFTA. They see international trade agreements as a way to do an end run around American law and restrict supplements through international regulations.

The largely government-run health care establishment, including the nominally private pharmaceutical companies, want government to control the dietary supplement industry – so that only they can manufacture and distribute supplements. If that happens, as it already is happening in Europe, the supplements you now take will be available only by prescription and at a much higher cost – if they are available at all. This alone is sufficient reason for Congress to oppose the unconstitutional, sovereignty-destroying CAFTA bill.

Here is one more statement by Dr. Paul on the impact of CODEX and trade agreements such as the WTO on health Freedom and Supplements:

Millions of Americans take dietary supplements every day, and the numbers are growing as the Baby Boom generation ages. More and more Americans understandably are frustrated with our government-controlled health care system. They have concluded that vitamins, minerals, and other supplements might help them stay healthy and less dependent on the system. They use supplements because they can buy them freely at stores and research them freely on the Internet, without government interference in the form of doctors, prescriptions, HMOs, and licenses. In other words, they use supplements because they are largely free to make their own choices, in stark contrast to the conventional medical system.

But we live in an era of unbridled government regulation of both our personal lives and the economy, and Food and Drug administration bureaucrats burn to regulate supplements in the same manner as prescription drugs.

The health nannies insist that many dietary supplements are untested and unproven, and therefore dangerous. But the track record for FDA-approved drugs hardly inspires confidence. In fact, far more Americans have died using approved pharmaceuticals than supplements. Not every dietary supplement performs as claimed, but neither does every FDA drug. [Please note that Ron Paul is an M.D.]

The FDA simply gives people a false sense of security, while crowding out private watchdog groups that might provide truly disinterested consumer information. It fosters a complacent attitude and a lack of personal responsibility among people who assume a government stamp of approval means a drug must be safe, and that they need not study a drug before taking it.

The FDA, like all federal agencies, ultimately uses its regulatory powers in political ways. Certain industries and companies are rewarded, and others are punished. No regulatory agency is immune from politics, which is why the FDA should not be trusted with power over our intimate health care decisions.

The real issue is not whether supplements really work, or whether FDA drugs really are safe. The real issue is: Who decides, the individual or the state? This is the central question in almost every political issue. In free societies, individuals decide what medical treatments or health supplements are appropriate for them.

Over the past decade the American people have made it clear they do not want the federal government to interfere with their access to dietary supplements. In 1994, Congress bowed to overwhelming public pressure and passed the Dietary Supplements and Health and Education Act, which liberalized the rules regarding the regulation of dietary supplements. Congressional offices received a record number of comments in favor of the Act, which demonstrates how strongly Americans feel about health freedom.

The FDA simply has thumbed its nose at Congress and ignored the new rules in many instances, by attempting to suppress information about health supplements. But in 1999 a federal appellate court affirmed that the American people have a First Amendment right to such information without interference from the FDA. However, members of Congress have had to intervene with the FDA on several occasions to ensure that they followed the court order.

My regular listeners already know about another looming threat to dietary supplement freedom. The Codex Alimentarius Commission, an offshoot of the United Nations, is working to “harmonize” food and supplement rules between all nations of the world. Under Codex rules, even basic vitamins and minerals will require a doctor’s prescription. As Europe moves ever closer to adopting Codex standards, it becomes more likely that the World Trade Organization will attempt to force those standards on the United States. This is yet another example of how the WTO threatens American sovereignty. By cooperating with Codex, the FDA is blatantly ignoring the will of Congress and the American people.

Both of Dr. Paul's statements appeared at: http://www.lewrockwell.com/