Helke Ferrie, VitalityMagazine.com
The Greatest Threat to Freedom of Choice in Health Care that this Century has Ever Produced – by Helke Ferrie
“It is not the function of our government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the government from falling into error.” – Robert Houghwout Jackson, Chief Judge, War-Crimes Tribunal, Nuremberg, 1945
If the following information was a horror movie, we could all sit back with our popcorn and enjoy it. Unfortunately, this is not fiction – and if we don’t do something about it, this nightmare will become waking reality in Canada sometime soon after August 1, 2005. Whatever happens, you will never forget Codex Alimentarius.
Codex is a sub-committee of the United Nations mandated to establish guidelines on food trade issues. Such guidelines are not legally binding for any nation, but nations that are part of the World Trade Organization can be severely sanctioned anyway. In the early 1990s, Codex began to look at establishing internationally “harmonized” standards for food supplements. In 2002 a European Union Directive produced such guidelines for Codex. But after careful scrutiny it appears that the strongest effect of this Directive will be to cut off availability of all vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and most other essential nutrients by re-classifying them as pharmaceutical drugs, eventually available by prescription only and manufactured by pharmaceutical companies from synthetic materials, including genetically engineered substances.
Due to interlocking international treaties (the WTO established in 1995, and the still to be ratified Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA)), Canada and the U.S. would be faced with serious sanctions if they don’t adopt these European guidelines. Codex authority is already part of these treaty texts. As a result, Australia, Norway, Denmark and Germany have already adopted these “foods as drugs” guidelines.
Furthermore, Health Canada’s own website already lists the European Parliament Commission’s “upper safe limits” on supplements as desirable for Canadians to follow. So without parliamentary debate, Health Canada quietly moved all supplements to the “drug” category effective January 2004, in order to get us ready to be “harmonized.” This treachery prompted Bill C-420 (explained later).
Not surprisingly, consumer groups and various medical associations throughout the world have joined forces with the “Alliance for Natural Health” (Europe’s voice for the supplement industries), to challenge this Directive in the International Court in Luxembourg as a violation of the EU Constitution. The 25 EU member states differ widely in medical norms. Article 152 of the EU Constitution expressly forbids any harmonization regarding availability of medicinal and food substances related to health. This provides a solid legal argument for the case to be heard on January 25. The decision will be published in March. Because the biotech and pharmaceutical industries dominate Codex and the EU food regulatory authority, which wrote this Directive, the International Court’s decision will be a decisive victory for either consumer freedom of choice or the multi-national corporations.
LIFE IN CODEX COUNTRY
In the mid-1990s my mother, then in her 80s, had a stroke. She lived in Germany. When she left hospital, I was ready with a nutritional plan that included high-dose vitamins: C, E, and B – especially Inositol, as well as Co-enzyme Q10. So I went to the local pharmacy, whose owner was a family friend for some 25 years, and handed him my list.
In return, he handed me a small packet with a price sticker of DM 200 (then about $200) containing vitamin E capsules manufactured by one of Germany’s largest pharmaceutical companies. The source was synthetic, not the “mixed tocopherol” version from living plant sources I wanted, which contains the whole E spectrum. The package contained a total of 10,000 IU of E, the equivalent of a mere 25 capsules of 400 IU each that we are used to buying. In Canada, our bottles contain 90 capsules and cost about $20. If Codex rules in Canada, we will likely pay $800 for a bottle of 90 capsules of low-quality vitamin E – if Health Canada lets us buy that many at once, and if you can find a doctor willing to prescribe it.
He then handed me a tube-shaped metal container with vitamin C effervescent tablets. Each tablet, when dissolved in water would release 10 mg of vitamin C in a refined sugar solution. Thus, this ridiculously low amount was to be taken in a sugary medium that would neutralize the vitamin without it doing anything at all. The cost: about $10 for 12 tablets.
Then he asked me, “What’s Co-enzyme Q10? Are you allowed to buy all this in Canada in such dangerous dosages?” When I told him what I take daily, his eyes popped. Then I asked, “Why can’t I buy these supplements here?” He replied, “Well, Germany is a Codex country.” Oddly, Germany has several government-run hospitals where environmental illness is treated with nutrients only, intravenous vitamin C, etc. Life is full of paradoxes and few more follow below.
THE EU DIRECTIVE’S HIT LIST
Dr. Carolyn Dean, a medical doctor and naturopath well known to Toronto readers, is currently the president of “Friends of Freedom International” in which capacity she attended the Codex meeting in Bonn last November. She describes Codex as “the ultimate Big Brother marching backwards into the future.”
Effective August 1, 2005, all vitamin and mineral supplements on the EU Directive’s so-called “positive list,” including everything from beta carotene to zinc, will only be available in the 25 EU countries if they comply with specific rules set out in the June 10, 2002, EU Directive Relating to Food Supplements. All products must show maximum safe levels “as established by science.” Those nutrients found in the mythic “balanced diet” are to be subtracted from the final values, and Article 6 (2) decrees that labels shall “not attribute to food supplements the property of preventing, treating or curing a human disease, or refer to such properties.” So, the Directive’s “science” knows nothing of vitamin C preventing and curing scurvy, vitamin D preventing and curing rickets and osteoporosis, or vitamin B curing and preventing anemia. It also ignores the mountain of evidence showing our diets are chronically deficient in essential nutrients because of factory-style farming practices. To “ensure a high level of protection for consumers and facilitate their choice,” they even included baking soda and table salt. We assume that these too will be unavailable as of August 1 anywhere in Europe – with interesting consequences for the tourist industry in the baked goods paradises of Austria, Switzerland and France.
Now, there is also a “negative list” covering essential fatty acids, phytonutrients, all the enzymes and more. Those cannot be marketed at all, until the EU scientific committee in charge has made a final decision. So, forget omega-3 and omega-6 fats, cod liver oil, and much more. The effect of this directive will be that thousands of European products and businesses will be gone this year. In the UK alone some 21 million people will suddenly have no access to any supplement vitamins, minerals, enzymes, fatty acids and more. Since the onus is on manufacturers to produce the scientific information on safety, they won’t be able to produce or sell anything – not even to physicians who have the power to prescribe any drug as well as any essential nutrient. Obviously, there will be enforcement issues (picture basement-concocted vitamins sold in dark alleys alongside crack and ecstasy).
CORPORATE GENERATED PSEUDO-SCIENCE
Health Canada’s famous food safety activist, Dr. Shiv Chopra, refers to corporate generated pseudo-science (designed to look snazzy but being in fact sleazy) as “tobacco science,” which is what obviously informed the EU Directive. For example, the cleverly named “International Alliance of Dietary Supplements” (see www.iahf.com/iadsa/) has already started the process of establishing “safety limits” for supplements by providing Codex with a report: it is based on outdated secondary literature, cites no evidence of dead bodies from vitamin overdosing, but asserts nonetheless that we are all overdosing. It is produced by a “scientific” committee chaired by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer’s very own Randy Dennin.
Nutrients are essential to life and cannot be subjected to safety analyses like environmental toxins or synthetic drugs. Virtually all research published in genuine health journals is focused on how essential nutrients heal organisms at the cellular level, which nutrients act together to bring about organ repair, and how they cause systemic healing when given in very high doses. Science has known for at least a century that deficiencies cause standard diseases. In the presence of certain viruses and environmental toxins, such deficiencies are a major contributing factor to AIDS and all cancers. Indeed, the South Africans recently renamed AIDS to NAIDS which stands for “Nutritionally Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome” because recent research showed that for the HIV virus to cause illness, a person must also be deficient in the immune-system-protecting mineral Selenium (Foster 2004).
Toxicity studies basically don’t exist for essential nutrients (one of a few is vitamin A under certain circumstances). To establish the “lethal dose 50,” half of a hundred lab rats or mice die at a substance’s concentration which is then designated as the toxic level. Well, you can’t do that with Vitamin C or essential fatty acids, for example. They can’t kill. The body metabolizes these substances and excretes excesses. The occasional individual allergy to a specific type of vitamin does not invalidate general biocompatibility. Thus, meeting the August 1 deadline is impossible in principle and in practice. It is a trap.
By contrast, all synthetic drugs without exception are systemically toxic, meaning they are toxic to more than one body system as well as on a cellular level. Hence the constant need to weigh the benefits of their use with the known risks of their toxicity, specific doses of just so many milligrams, timing of ingestion, duration of treatment, and the prescription requirement. All this doesn’t apply to apples, magnesium, or probiotics. If you eat too many apples, you get the runs – same mess for too much vitamin C. Furthermore, all drugs, from Aspirin to Zocor, also deplete essential nutrients. Most accumulate in body tissues because they cannot be metabolized by our enzymes which freak out when encountering this phony chemistry and simply move on. Used for a long time, drugs frequently shut down the body’s natural detoxification centre, the liver, and in extreme cases destroy it – necessitating a liver transplant. Of course, essential nutrients are readily metabolized and distributed in accordance with the laws of nature, while simultaneously nourishing the liver.
CORPORATE BACKLASH AGAINST NUTRITIONAL MEDICINE
About 800,000 people die every year in North America from properly prescribed and ingested drugs. No toxicity levels are ever published on drugs. They are assumed and were protected by a conspiracy of silence until Johns Hopkins Medical School published the data on this drug-related death toll in 2003 (see Dean below). Codex’s effort to save us all from supposedly dangerous food supplements, by requiring proof of their (non-existent) toxicity levels, is a determined backlash against the turn medical science took starting with Linus Pauling, Abram Hoffer, Carl Pfeiffer and Roger Williams in the 1950s. They established the concepts of bio-individuality in absorption and detoxification, high-dose essential nutrients as disease curing, and environmental toxins acting as nutrient depleting. Today, we have a flood of evidence showing that drugs have a very limited usefulness and that high-dose nutrients can do many things better than drugs can.
The pharmaceutical industry is anything but slow-witted, and good business practice dictates outfoxing the competition – one way or another – to secure the market. If this Directive is not stopped, there will be only one medical world: the pharmaceutical world. When this Codex project began in 2001, some 180 million protest letters reached their office, but Codex doesn’t give up on protecting us. Now the fight is on in each country, because Codex is now our problem as well.
INTERNATIONAL RESISTANCE TO PHARMACEUTICAL CONTROL
South Africa announced on January 17 that it will not follow the foods-as-drugs Directive. Minister of Health Manto Tshabalala-Msimang stated that her country disagrees with the “false dichotomy between natural and allopathic medicine, a division fostered by the need to make money from patented drugs through discrediting the use of natural products.” At the November Codex meeting the South African delegate, Antoinette Booyzen, stood firm on rejecting the Directive’s notion that supplements don’t treat, prevent or cure. But the Codex chairman, who is routinely supported by the EU delegate commanding 25 votes, simply stonewalled all opposition, even the World Health Organization’s report entitled Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Disease. Since chronic disease is the source of Big Pharma’s wealth (see my book listed under Sources at end), the last thing Codex wants is prevention.
Dr. Carolyn Dean described how India’s delegate, who represents one sixth of the human race with one vote, objected to the Codex and EU-promoted baby formulas containing chemicals that cause brain-destroying inflammation in susceptible babies. He was ignored. When he insisted on debate, he was removed from the room. Naturally, India is mounting its resistance to Codex, the EU Directive, the WTO and all the rest of the regulatory alphabet soup.
And currently, the U.S. has bill H.R. 4004 before Congress, sponsored by Republican Congressman Ron Paul from Texas. Known as the Health Freedom Bill, it is an anti-Codex, anti-harmonization bill that would ensure supplements remain classified as foods available according to individual choice. The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons expressed their opposition to Codex by formally adopting on December 10 last year a resolution “supporting freedom for patients and physicians to choose natural remedies”. The Dietary Supplement Education Alliance presented recently before Congress an extensive analysis of the effect of supplements taken on the basis of individual choice. Their data showed that supporting such health freedom would save the government a minimum of $15 billion (US) annually. Doctors’ associations also prepared a superb rebuttal to the reports Codex relies on. One of the most important tools is available for free to the health activist on www.garynull.com where you can download the entire available mainstream scientific information on all vitamins and minerals up to 2003. This material was assembled with Dr. Carolyn Dean’s assistance specifically to counteract Codex’s tobacco science.
In the UK, physicians practicing natural medicine have been equally active. They are supported by many members of the House of Lords and the Royal Family who subscribe to homeopathy. Tony Blair’s pro-Codex policy was attacked publicly by his wife’s personal trainer, who supervises the Blairs’ supplement regime; the trainer accused the Blairs of hypocrisy and urged Britons not to vote for him.
In Canada we have an utterly unique opportunity to save freedom of choice by supporting Bill C-420 which is going into second reading in Parliament in early March. By that time MPs Dr. James Lunney and Dr. Colin Carrie need to prove to the government that their bill is supported by Canadians – just as we did a few years ago with more than a million letters. At that time, Health Canada was poised to place all 60,000 natural products into the drug category. This immense protest resulted in a promise to establish a “third category.” Yet without debate or public knowledge, all natural products were simply moved into the drug category on January 1, 2004. Outraged by this treachery, Lunney launched bill C-420 which would change the definition of food and drugs such as to achieve what that publicly supported “third category” would have done. Now we have a minority government and a chance to win. The simple fact is that if our supplements are defined, in law, as foods, Codex has no jurisdiction.
SO, WHAT CAN YOU DO?
First: Go to my website www.kospublishing.com, scroll down to Make A Difference, go to “CODEX Action Canada.” A letter for our Minister of Health and detailed instructions are provided, with the addresses and e-mails of the relevant MPs. You may write your own letter, of course. For a hard copy, leave a message at (519) 927-1049. It demands (summary below):
1) Support Bill C —420, coming up for 2nd reading in March.
2) Take the necessary steps to implement the CAUT recommendations by Canada’s university teachers (i.e. stop Health Canada from doing Big Pharma’s bidding).
3) Initiate a “Truth Commission” composed of medical, toxicology, and research experts with no ties to the pharmaceutical industry, charged to investigate the validity and reliability of the research of every drug in the current Compendium of Pharmaceuticals and Specialties (CPS)
4) Amend the regulatory requirements of Health Canada such that, beginning with the 2005 edition of the CPS, every drug therein must show its toxicity level in addition to potential adverse effects.
5) Support the Minister’s call for compulsory adverse event reports on drugs.
Second: Become a member (for $25 annually) of Friends of Freedom International. Download membership form and information on Bill C-420 from my website, or call me for a hard copy. They handle the most important current legal actions against Health Canada.
If every one of the 50,000+ readers of this article were to act now, Canadians would ensure their right to freedom of choice in medicine. In a minority-government, Bill C-420 is certain to pass with public support, and the pending lawsuits against Health Canada’s high-handed attack on vitamin and supplements could be won. Instead of having your (tax) money support the pharmaceutical industry, this would be certain support for Life and Health.
- On Codex and the EU Directive: www.friendsoffreedom.org and www.alliance-natural-health.org. For international treaties affecting supplements www.citizens.org
- M. Angell, The Truth About the Drug Companies: How They Deceive us And What To Do About It, Random House, 2004
- J. Bakan, The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power, Viking, 2004
- H. Ferrie, Dispatches from the War Zone of Environmental Health, Kos 2004
- H. Foster, What Really Causes AIDS, Trafford 2002
- S. & H. Hickey, MDs, The Ridiculous Dietary Allowance (type LULU into GOOGLE and download free edition of this book)
- S. Rampton & J. Stauber, Trust Us, We’re Experts: How Industry Manipulates Science and Gambles With Your Future, Tarcher-Putnam, 2001