Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Help Stop Attempt to Give FTC Authority Over Nutritional Supplements

We've just received word that an attempt is being made to give the FTC regulatory authority over nutritional supplements, effectively an end run around supplement protections provided by the DSHEA (Dietary Supplement Health & Education Act) of 1994.

Worse yet, the new regulatory language is being surreptitiously slipped into the new Wall Street Reform bill!

Please read the following article from the Alliance for Natural Health USA and follow through on their Take Action link to quickly and easily alert your Senate representatives to this sneaky attack on your health freedoms!

Regards and great health!

Steve Barwick

Help stop attempt to give FTC authority over nutritional supplements

April 27, 2010

The American public is becoming fed up with “sneak” provisions tacked onto largely unrelated bills that are likely to pass. A glaring recent example was tacking onto the Healthcare bill a complete change to student loans. Often the “sneak” provision is so buried that hardly anyone is aware of it.

The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009 (H.R. 4173), recently passed in the House of Representatives, includes language going far beyond finance inserted by Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA). This language could be used for an end run around the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), the legislation that governs dietary supplement regulation by the FDA.

The Senate is expected to vote on its finance “reform” bill as early as this weekend. We need your help to ensure that it is not amended to include a similar provision going far beyond finance that could be used against supplements. Please take action now. TAKE ACTION

Congressman Waxman is well known as an opponent of the dietary supplement industry. This is somewhat ironic: his district includes Hollywood and presumably many of his closest supporters are health store shoppers and supplement users. Most of these people simply don’t know what Waxman is doing in this area.

This powerful Congressman, chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee (which includes health as a subcommittee), would appear to want supplements regulated like drugs, a step that would effectively eliminate them. He is determined and has stated: “One enduring truth about Washington is that no issue is ever settled for good.”

ANH-USA has been on alert to see how Waxman would use his committee chairmanship to strike at DSHEA. He is very clever and we knew a covert attack was a possibility.

A direct attack on supplements would take the form of an amendment to DSHEA, since that legislation governs FDA regulation of supplements. In this case, Waxman has left DSHEA alone, and has instead inserted language in the Wall St. “reform” bill that gives the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) important new powers that could be used to circumvent key supplement protections in DSHEA. TAKE ACTION

To see how this would work, let’s see how the FTC operates today. Its chief mission is to combat commercial fraud. It has full authority to pursue companies making fraudulent claims. But the FTC can’t go beyond that, can’t set other regulatory requirements, without advance approval of Congress. The FTC once had this regulatory “rule-making” authority. It lost it in the 1980’s because Congress thought the Agency was abusing it.

At the present time, if the FTC moves against a dietary supplement company for false or misleading advertising, the FTC typically requires the company, as part of a consent decree agreed to by both parties, to back up its claims by undertaking at least two random controlled human trials. This is done on a case-by-case basis and is legal because the targeted company has agreed to it.

If the FTC had general rulemaking authority, which Waxman’s language reinstates, the Agency would be expected to create a new legal requirement for all supplement companies. Such companies would have to perform at least two of these human studies before making any claims for their products.

Why should we care whether supplement companies are required to perform two random controlled human trials for each product? Because such trials take a long time and would be beyond the financial means of most supplement companies. Even if the companies could find the money, the FTC could require more and more costly versions of these studies, or more of these studies. At each stage, fewer supplements would be available, and those available would cost more and more, until they became as costly as drugs.TAKE ACTION

Supplements are not drugs. In most cases, drugs are non-natural and therefore patentable substances. Why patentable? Because no company will spend a billion dollars on studies and FDA approval trials without the monopoly provided by the patent.

To insist that supplements be treated like drugs is really to sound the death knell for the supplement industry, something that drug companies would be delighted to see, because they know that supplements are their chief potential competition, are often more effective than drugs, are often less toxic, and are always much less expensive.

Supplements are already regulated by the FDA under DSHEA. If the Waxman provision is included in the final Wall St “reform” bill, the FTC will gain the power to override the limited protections for supplements that already exist under DSHEA. The FDA would still have to respect DSHEA, but the FTC would not be so constrained.

Five unelected FTC commissioners would issue binding regulations in a wide range of areas, including the regulation of dietary supplements. And companies that did not comply with the new FTC rules could effectively be put out of business.

According to renowned constitutional attorney Jonathan Emord, “The provision removing the ban on FTC rulemaking without Congressional preapproval contained in H.R. 4173 invites the very same irresponsible over-regulation of the commercial marketplace that led Congress to enact the ban in the 1980s. FTC has no shortage of power to regulate deceptive advertising; this bill gives it far more discretionary power than it needs, inviting greater abuse and mischief from an agency that suffers virtually no check on its discretion.”

The bottom line is that FTC would be given power to regulate areas they don’t understand, and their first order of business would likely be to regulate supplements, an area far outside their area of expertise.

The Senate Wall St “reform” bill, the Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010 (S. 3217), doesn’t contain the Waxman provision yet. But we know that Senator Rockefeller (D-WV) may offer an amendment including Waxman’s language.

Please help us stop this. Please take action now to help us maintain access to low cost, high quality supplements. Tell your senators not to support any amendments that give FTC unchecked power to over-regulate areas they don’t understand, including dietary supplements.

Thanks to the Alliance for Natural Health USA for this vital information: http://www.anh-usa.org/congressman-waxman-slips-obscure-anti-supplement-measure-into-wall-st-%e2%80%9creform%e2%80%9d-bill-passed-by-the-house-please-take-action-to-prevent-same-thing-happening-in-the-senate/

Friday, April 23, 2010

Radiation from "safe" CT scans causes 29,000 cancers a year, kills 14,500 Americans

I just had a CT scan earlier this year, after first being run through the medical ringer by a series of doctors and specialists who told me I could have a serious condition that might need “early detection.”

Before the scan I specifically asked my doctor, as well as the CT technician, whether there was any danger of radiation induced cancers. They both told me the risk was so negligible as to be non-existent. The scan was "perfectly safe" I was told.

Do you think I’d have had the CT scan if I’d known 29,000 people a year end up with cancer from them, and half of them die? Need I answer that question?

Of course, the scan found nothing. So it was a complete waste of time and money, and now I learn it posed a huge risk to my health, as well.

Of course, everyone got their money. So all’s well, right? After all, that’s what it’s all about. The money.

I later solved my problem on my own by throwing away all of the drugs the doctors had given me, and taking a daily Saw Palmetto capsule instead. Took about three days and I was pretty much back to normal.

Getting older sometimes isn’t very much fun, because of the way the human body has a tendency to function less efficiently. But learning how the medical profession takes advantage of this pesky little fact of life in order to enrich themselves really gets my goat.

Is it any wonder there’s a constantly growing mistrust – even disdain -- of doctors and the medical profession in general these days?

-- Steve

Radiation from "safe" CT scans causes 29,000 cancers a year, kills 14,500 Americans

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) Computerized tomography (CT) medical scans cause at least 29,000 cases of cancer and 14,500 deaths in the United States every year, according to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Shocking as this figure is, a second study published in the same issue and conducted by researchers from the University of California-San Francisco suggests that the reality may actually be much worse.

CT scans are diagnostic tests in which radiation is used to take a cross-sectional picture of a patient's organs. They have become far more common in the United States over the past 30 years, increasing in frequency from 3 million per year in 1980 to the current rate of 70 million per year.

In the first study, researchers from the National Cancer Institute used current estimates of CT scan radiation exposure to calculate the cancer risk produced by the procedure. They found that at current rates of use, the scans kill nearly 15,000 people a year, and cause twice as many cases of cancer. The risks vary by age, with younger patients at much higher risk because they have more time in which a cancer can develop.

The researchers estimated that a three-year-old female receiving an abdominal CT scan has a one in 500 risk of developing cancer as a direct result. The risk decreases to one in 1,000 by age 30 and three in 10,000 by age 70.

The University of California study suggests that these numbers are actually far too low, however. Current estimates of how much radiation exposure a patient receives from a given CT scan are based on old studies that scanned inanimate objects equipped with sensors. The new study actually measured the radiation dose received by 1,119 patients undergoing CT scans at four different hospitals in the San Francisco area.

The researchers found that actual radiation exposure was anywhere from four to 13 times higher than prior studies had suggested.

Rosaleen Parsons of the Fox-Chase Cancer Center suggests that patients keep their medical records to avoid unnecessary repetition of tests, and ask their doctors about alternatives to radiation-based scans.

Sources for this story include: www.usatoday.com; online.wsj.com.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

FDA Considering Another Ban on Vitamin B-6

FDA Considering Another Ban on Vitamin B-6

Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Now another drug company wants a natural form of vitamin B-6 declared to be a “drug,” and wants nutritional supplement companies banned from producing and selling it!

Once again the FDA is considering giving a drug company sole rights to manufacture and market a vitamin as a “drug,” thus stripping you of your right to obtain the vitamin in its inexpensive, natural supplemental form.

Back in February of 2009 I explained how one drug company had petitioned the FDA to declare a certain form of the vitamin B-6 called pyridoxamine to be a “drug,” and convinced the FDA to ban nutritional supplement manufacturers from selling the vitamin in supplement form.

I also warned that the vital P5P form of vitamin B-6 – the most natural and bioavailable form -- would be next on Big Pharma’s hit list.

I also warned that unless the American public rose up in anger about this travesty, all vitamins will ultimately be subject to such pharmaceutical company chicanery.

Some readers mocked my warning. But today we’ve received an urgent alert from our good friends at the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) that another drug company wants sole use of P5P so they can develop and market it as a drug. They have petitioned the FDA to declare it a “drug” and ban its use as a supplement as well.

This has to be stopped. NOW! Once such precedents are allowed to take place, Big Pharma will set in motion a tsunami of so-called “citizen’s petitions” to have other vitamins declared to be drugs.

Please read the below article from the Alliance for Natural Health and follow through on their recommended course of actions!

Regards and great health!

Steve Barwick

Alert: Protect Your Right To Natural and Bio-available Vitamin B-6!

April 6, 2010

From Alliance for Natural Health USA

Human beings cannot live without vitamin B-6. It is also important for the prevention of cancer and the prevention and treatment of seizures, anemia, mental disorders including schizophrenia, carpal tunnel syndrome, and other conditions. Its effect on carpal tunnel can seem almost miraculous.

A natural form of the vitamin, Pyridoxamine, was recently yanked off the market by the FDA.

Why? Because a pharmaceutical company, BioStratum, wanted sole use of pyridoxamine in a drug, a drug which may or may not ever appear.

The company filed a so-called citizen’s petition and the FDA agreed, notwithstanding protests from ANH-USA, other organizations, and thousands of citizens.

You might ask: how can Pharma take a supplement off the market and claim exclusive use of it as a prescription drug? The FDA does not presently feel obligated to answer this question.

Unfortunately, this isn’t all the bad news about vitamin B6. All forms of B-6, natural or synthetic, must be converted to P5P, another natural form, for the body to use it. Another drug company, Medicure Pharma, wants sole use of P5P and so has petitioned the FDA to ban its use as a supplement as well.

Medicure has yet to market a drug made from P5P, but wants the ban to take place now. And never mind that any individual unable to convert synthetic B6 to P5P would have to rely solely on Medicure’s product to stay alive.

How does Medicure think it can get away with this? Its petition states rather candidly:

"Pharmaceutical companies developing new drugs must be protected from companies that may seek to market the ingredients in those drugs as dietary supplements. The marketing of such products has the potential to undermine the incentive for the development of new drugs because many people may choose to purchase the supplements rather than the drugs.”

This is not of course a case of supplement producers creating a product to compete with an existing prescription drug. It is just the reverse. P5P, the natural and bioactive form of B6, has existed in food for as long as there have been humans and has been available as a supplement for years. Medicure seems to be saying: If it seems profitable, let’s just turn a critical vitamin, one essential for human life, into a drug, make it available only by subscription, and mark up the price. This is truly outrageous.

The FDA has not yet responded to Medicure’s petition. We have asked you in the past to send a message to the FDA and Congress protesting Medicure’s P5P grab, and the time has come to send some more messages.

So if you haven’t sent in a message to the FDA and Congress yet, or even if you have, please send one today through the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) who recently helped us defeat the McCain bill which would have destroyed the health freedoms we currently enjoy under the DSHEA.

P.S. While we’re discussing Vitamin B6, here’s the latest scientific report on this crucial, life-giving substance:

An analysis of 13 U.S., European and Asian studies of vitamin B6 and colon cancer, conducted from 2002-2009, has been published in a special edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Studies of the range of B6 doses found that vitamin B6 taken in higher doses reduced the risk of colon cancer by 21 percent. In one study, Dr. Susanna Larsson and her colleagues at Sweden’s

National Institute of Environmental Medicine reported an inverse relationship between the intake of vitamin B6 or pyridoxine and the risk of colon cancer.

Dr. Larsson linked the effect to bloodstream levels of pyridoxal-phosphate (PLP), the main active coenzyme form of vitamin B6.

Pyridoxal-phosphate is also known as pyridoxal 5-phosphate or (as we referred to it above) P5P.

Don’t let the FDA take away our access to this most natural and bioavailable form of B6, P5P.

Please take action now by clicking here.

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