|By Jenny Thompson|
Imagine dropping by your favourite health food store to find it boarded up and out of business. So you go around to your local drug mart to pick up some Vitamin C, but the only dosage on the shelf is ridiculously low. The druggist informs you that 60 mg is now the maximum dosage available without a prescription. So if you've been taking a mega dosage of Vitamin C to help fight heart disease or build up your immunity against cancer, you'll have to find a doctor willing to prescribe that dosage. You're no longer free to decide on your own how much of this natural vitamin you want to take.
Sounds like a nightmare? It gets worse.
Imagine that all of this is the result of new legislation imposed by lawmakers with direct ties to pharmaceutical companies -- powerful companies that will use the law to create an enormous new source of profits. Now that's a real nightmare. But what makes it truly nightmarish is that, incredibly, it will soon become a reality in the United Kingdom and most of Europe -- if the global pharmaceutical industry has its way.
Last March 13, the European Parliament (a 626-member legislative body representing the 15 European Union countries) passed the "EU Directive on Dietary Supplements" which classifies vitamins as medical drugs rather than food supplements. The directive grants a transition period of three years for vitamin supplements already on the market. But in 2005, every EU country will be required to implement the directive.
As it currently stands, in just three years a wide range of natural remedies will be banned across most of Europe, making as many as 300 ingredients -- including chromium picolinate, yeast, lysine, and selenium -- illegal for over-the-counter sale. Other supplements that remain in stores will contain very low dosage amounts -- not enough to provide any real therapeutic value.
It's almost like they're passing a law against prevention.
So not only are the pharmaceutical companies eliminating competition from natural products for treating illnesses, they are essentially forcing greater need for prescription products for citizens of the EU. After all, without prevention, where will people be forced to turn when they get even the slightest bit ill? To physicians who will prescribe mainstream pharmaceuticals or super-strength, prescription-only vitamins, supplied by (guess who?) the Pfizers, Mercks, and Bayers of the world.
Nothing strange about these bedfellows
To make things even worse, a number of European Union Commissioners have direct links to international pharmaceutical companies. For instance, a prominent EU commissioner, Frits Bolkenstein of the Netherlands, is also a member of the supervisory board of the second largest pharmaceutical company in the world: Merck, Sharp and Dohme. The blatant pharmaceutical industry influence on this directive would be laughable if the consequences weren't so great.
In a smooth double-speak that's almost frightening, the EU Directive states: "In order to ensure a high level of protection for consumers and facilitate their choice, the products that will be put on the market must be safe and bear adequate and appropriate labeling."
The good news is that the "consumers" are not buying it. "Protection?" To "facilitate their choice?" More than 600 million people read that and shouted back a resounding "No!" In what is believed to be the largest global online petition ever, a staggering 604 million people (to date) have added their names, demanding continued free acess to natural remedies.
Lend your voice, wherever you live
I have signed the petition and I encourage you to do so too if you believe the availability of natural supplements should not be controlled by the international pharmaceutical industry. Anyone can sign the petition; you don't have to be a citizen of a European Union nation; and you can find the petition at: http://www.vitamins-for-all.org .
This website was created by Dr. Matthias Rath, a leading researcher in the field of natural treatments for cancer and one of the most prominent campaigners against the EU Directive.
For those of you who may think this is a European issue, that it couldn't happen here, consider this: The United States and the European Union are each other's largest trade and investment partners. In 2,000, two-way trade in goods and services between the two totalled more than $557 billion. With economic ties this deep, any European law that gives the global pharmaceutical industry such sweeping power over the health choices of millions will have global effects.
And once they've conquered Europe, how long before they set their sights on the North American marketplace? Just look at recent directives from the FDA. It's already happening.
The EU Directive is not yet law. Our associates in London believe that by the time the directive is implemented in 2005, there's a chance that the most oppressive aspects of the legislation might be eliminated, especially if enough people raise their voices and mobilize against it.
That website, again, is: http://www.vitamins-for-all.org. Please, go there today. And ask your friends to go there too.