In September 2010, I wrote an article describing how President Obama had signed legislation that opened the doors to a European-style ban on nutritional supplements in the future here in the United States.
Comments poured in from concerned and disbelievng people who wanted to share their views. Well folks, according to the health freedom organization The Alliance For Natural Health, the Empire has struck back, so to speak: the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has decided to make its own legislation (masquerading as guidance), which is against Federal law. If allowed to stay, the 'guidance' could lead to:
- Between 22,240 and 41,700 nutritional supplements likely to be removed from the market, at an economic loss of between $5.6 billion and $10.5 billion;
- The nutritional supplement market could shrink by between 28% and 52.5%, producing an annual loss for the industry of between $7.84 billion to $14.7 billion; and
- Between 55,720 and 104,475 jobs in the supplement industry could be lost - which has global implications as well as for the United States. [Source]
The likelihood is that once certain supplements have been banned, pharmaceutical companies would patent the previously-available supplement formulas because they'd have the money to pay for the costly regulatory process approval and testing.
Money before health
To recoup their costs, and then make a profit, pharmaceutical companies would then sell the supplements to consumers at a higher-than-present-day price; it's all about return on investment.
Attorney's acting for organizations such as the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) are claiming that the FDA has illegally created a 'guidance' that would allow it to ban the sales of supplements created or modified in the past 17 years (that's all the way back to 1994). That is a lot of supplements folks - probably most of the items on the shelves.
By creating new guidance, the FDA has violated the Federal Administrative Procedure Act, which it is required to follow. Jonathan Emord, an attorney acting for the ANH said: “The APA says if an agency’s action is legislative in nature, that’s rulemaking. The guidance distorts the plain language of the laws that govern supplements. FDA needs to comply with the APA’s formal rulemaking requirements, not issue unilateral guidance as a deceptive means of creating new rules.”
Storm in a teacup?
It's very easy to see this as a minor procedural error and that all will be resolved when the FDA corrects its error. If the procedure is corrected and the 'guidance' becomes official FDA rules, then the European-style ban on supplements - aided by President Obama's signing of legislation last year - could happen here in America. President Obama can direct the FDA, and I hope he is aware of this small, but major 'guidance' change.
It is essential to remember that legislation is built on tiers; acts passed previously are vaguely worded to open the doors for future legislation. This has its benefits, however it can also be abused by enacting legislation that is not in the interests of the public, but is in the interests of business.
It's easy to read this article and become fearful, angry, frustrated, and take political sides. We must all be aware that this under-the-counter attempt to ban supplements is part of a big picture, and is not just one piece of the puzzle. What are the pieces of the puzzle showing you?
I look at how the health of the American population has decreased during the past thirty years: we have more stressed, obese and diseased people than ever before. Government is ineffective, despite the hard work of many thousands of federal employees. Healthcare is not health care; it is disease management, and it is a huge multi-trillion dollar business. Each of us has to take responsibility for our own health.
Decimating the supplement industry by limiting it and handing it on a plate to the pharmaceutical companies would make a nice return on investment for the trillions of dollars big pharma has spent on lobbying activities and campaign donations over the decades.
Now is not the time to act
It's essential not to be clouded by our preconceived ideas of what will happen with this guidance and whether supplements will be banned. We all have our views. Whether they're right or wrong is incidental because at the moment things are going on behind the scenes at the FDA. Us (the public) arguing among ourselves is pointless because it renders us powerless; we become divided and conquered.
The FDA knows the public's opinion on this issue, however it doesn't have to listen to us. FDA advisory boards consist of industry-paid advisors, some of whom are primarily loyal to the dollar, and use their power to exert influence. I say this based on previous incidences of regulatory irregularities within the FDA with regard to milk and RbST, and various Monsanto products that have made their way onto the market. There are rotten apples in the FDA barrel, however there are many, many more ripe ones.
It's time to watch what happens with a healthy dose of curiosity...