Street politics – alive and well

Natural Health Products Rally
Press Swamp Winston

Winston Peters got heckled outside Parliament today as Green MPs joined those standing up against Therapeutic Products and Medicines Bill. The proposed new drug regulation, also to include all natural health products right down to vitamin C, is up for its first reading in Parliament today. The legislation is likely to destroy most small natural health companies, as natural remedies which have been used safely for centuries suddenly have to be tested in labs like new chemicals invented yesterday by pharmaceutical companies.

Green MP Sue Kedgley, along with Tony Ryall and Maori Party MP Hone Harawira, spoke out against it outside Parliament before the debate to a healthy crowd of well accessorised natural health consumers. High on the agenda was the Bill’s attack on NZ sovereignty, along with NZ First’s U-turn in deciding to support the Bill, with Winston Peters silently turning up at the back just as Sue finished her criticism of NZ First. After the build up Winston took the stand to a mighty set of jeers and boos – who said street politics was dead?. When the extended heckling, which didn’t really achieve much, finally died down, he went on to claim it was a different Bill to the one which they had opposed 2 years ago, and that all he wanted to do was to ban ‘snake oil’. I mean, I don’t know any ‘snake oil’ users, do you? Although I hear it’s good for eczema. To his credit when he had finally finished press swatting (if they were bees you’d think he was covered in honey) he did finally allow a few questions, pity he didn’t answer any of them.

When he finished and the press swarmed after him, the protest was left alone to hear Amy Adams and Mike Cushman sum up the agenda of the Bill perfectly, the pharmaceutical multinationals lobbying to get the competition out of the way under the pretext of consumer protection.

27 Comments Posted

  1. They got to Winston Peters’ mind?!! Hat’s off to them…. it must have been very difficult to locate…. 🙂 (*sorry, I could NOT resist*)

    BJ

  2. A simple process of keeping supplement and pharmaceutical product honest is for a legal requirement that any product put on the market has to have a covering explanation of the natural process and foods required to maintain the healthy system involved in the treatment. eg. for any cancer treatment the discussion of the immune process and its process of killing and discarding cells that start mutating plus the processes of natural regeneration, and the nutrients known in the process. If this came from a database that accumulated this knowledge then any new drug or natural product discovered would have to be put in the context of what it replaces and the discipline of this gives a bit more impetus to comparable study of the natural processes. Maybe the huge computer complexes used to monitor worldwide communication would have ideal capacity. Sorry if it sounds whimsical but the supply of knowledge is the best counter to the power processes of greed.
    I feel it is very important to counter this bill but the big lobby groups involved with the companies have already got to the minds of the likes of Winstone Peters, and he is probably seeing the political writing on the wall and needs a new job soon. We have to keep putting the pressure on the ordinary MPs as they still have some idealism and maybe some hope to getting a better political job.

  3. energy Says: It should be the medicines going through all this scrutiny, not our natural & safe supplements – it is so riduclously ironic!

    The word that flashed in my mind was Orwellian. “War is peace”, “Ignorance is strength” and now the Corporatocracy has decreed that “Safe is unsafe” and “Codex is freedom”

  4. I was just thinking about the fiasco that added to the fact that health products ‘may be unsafe’. Was around the ex pharmacist of Healtheries that went to work for Pan pharmaceuticals in Australia. They found something wrong with the packaging of one of the drugs, but since the supplements were made in the same Australian pharaceutical building, they withdrew many of our supplements that were made there.
    So since it was their pharmacists checking & stuffing up our supplements manufufacturing up until now- maybe that is where the divide needs to happen. Manufacturing Companies making natural supplements, get supervised by natural health professionals, natural health scientists etc. A self regulating body?
    Herbs already have strict testing, surely there is an avenue that Nutritional Supplements could go down that would proove their already known effectiveness & safety etc. I think that we maybe need to as health professionals document our cases of effective treatment with supplements, as the orthodox really have no idea!
    Their fear of how supplements work around orthodox medications is half the problem. They are brainwashed to say “no dont use any supplements, to cover their own ignorance.”
    Our health system has to change!!!! Its sick!

  5. Not good news.
    I agree there needs to be a different self governing body of people who can decern what products are safe etc in the future, but it needs to not be lumped under the medicine act or pharmaceuticals.
    Energy medicines & nutritional supplements just dont belong under there!
    The medical herbalists have got their team together & they will stand strong in government, if allowed – in support of herbal medicine.
    But the Charter & new Accreditation Board are all that appear to be around to govern Natural therapists, not the natural health products themselves. Maybe there needs to be a separate body available to decern our right to safe products. Manufacturing side of it & safety. ( which really isnt a problem if products are what they say they are & are prescribed by trained health practioners. )

    Personally, I think it is health food shops with untrained staff asked upsell upsell- the likes of hardys healthy living or smaller stores, that can give the health industry a bad name; not to mention the occasional idiot over prescribing, cause he heard it somewhere….

    The ‘Health’ dept ( phff) & CAM didnt do a great job of decerning products at all- even getting upset & riduculing Homeopathic Arnica if I remember correctly.
    It should be the medicines going through all this scrutiny, not our natural & safe supplements- it is so riduclously ironic!

  6. I have just got a copy of this Bill thinking it would tell me how , in detail , it would affect NZ manufacturers in terms of the standards to be met etc.
    There are 550 pages telling how it is to be structured , administered , governence , accountability , transition provisions ,enforcement and penalties ( 70 + pages !!) and quite abit about ” substantive provisions related to medicines . But that is all ,so as far as supplements are concerned we are obviously going to get the Aussie “template” laid on NZ whether we like it or not. Exactly what most of us have thought would happen.
    The main argument from the Govt. seems to be that we cannot afford to meet international standards by ourselves and there is a major shortage internationally of people who can do the evaluation of products to the right level.

  7. BJ

    The beta carotene trials were conducted by the National Cancer Institute (US). You might dismiss this as establishment medicine led by big pharma, but it does have credibility.

    My point wasn’t a dismissal of supplements — it was that controlled trials are needed to gauge the safety and efficacy of them. Without that you’re left with testimonials, badly-conducted trials and advertising.

    The same goes for other areas of consumer protection. If a company is selling devices that they claim slash fuel consumption, I don’t think they should be exempt from proving it just because we want to believe it’s true.

  8. You want cancer cures, look at trials on eggplant extract. 80,000 patients cured of cancer near 100% success rate.
    Whole body hypothermia, thousands cured with far better results than Chemo.
    Capsicums destroy 50% of prostate cancers quickly.
    Vit D halves cancer risks.
    Carnivora, made from a rare plant called Carolina has a 98% cancer cure rate, what has Chemo?
    Polyerga had 44% longer life expectancies over non users in proper trials, whats Chemo got on that?
    Galvanotherapy works, as proven by 65,000 patients.
    Noni works as do many Glyconutrient based products have proven. Forget the medics saying its quackary, the survivers will tell you otherwise.
    Coriolus versicolour works up to 98% successfully in patients used, why call this rubbish.

    Heres a tid bit, what being touted as the best medication to bring down cholesterol, that does it better than any other drug on the market? try KIWIFRUIT. And in NZ we dont know that?

  9. Well said bjchip. There is no way any government legislation is going to stop me from using the regular supplements and anti-oxidants I have been using for years, even if it means I have to look to black market supplies. I wonder if I am going to get burned at the stake for using herbal medicine as many millions of women were during the inquisition?

    But seriously, has anybody considered in this equation with regards to the issue of “field-testing” nutritional supplements that there has been sound scientific data freely available for years on what constitutes minimum daily requirements and recommended doses for therapeutic use? Is big pharma saying that is irrelevant now?

    And as to the global governance aspect of this, I’ve been reading up a little on this Codex thing (which seems to be where this is heading for us) and I have to say it scares the bejesus out of me. Lots of useful info and activist suggestions on this site here:

    International Advocates for Health Freedom
    http://www.nocodexgenocide.com/nocodexgenocide.html

    Does anyone know of any current NZ groups/initiatives/petitions such as this that we can get actively involved with? Please post links here if you have.

  10. Baz – The folks doing trials that you are looking at are using cr@p and attempting to isolate effects of nutrients. This is like saying that eating bread is no good because if all you eat is bread you’ll get sick.

    I refer often to some of the literature “foisted” on me by the industry, like this…

    12. J Nutr 1985 Jun;115(6):807-13
    Oral alpha-tocopherol supplements decrease plasma gamma-tocopherol levels in humans.
    Handelman GJ, Machlin LJ, Fitch K, Weiter JJ, Dratz EA.

    oops… looks like someone wasn’t paying attention to the literature when they tested increased doses of ALPHA tocopherol… if it were an isolated instance I would be inclined to give them the benefit of doubt, but it is systemic Baz. There is establishment “medicine” which is led by big Pharma (which has the money) and there are folks like me who want to take naturally occurring substances and use them to our benefit.

    This naturally removes us as a source of income for big pharma… they can’t patent natural foods and treatments, and they can’t prevent us from getting them unless the government helps them. So in Europe we have the “Codex” and here we have this bill and we are fighting with them everywhere, and everywhere we see useful fools siding with them for “good” but false reasons.

    DHEA works… dosages have to be right to get blood levels right, but it helps a lot. Melatonin works. Saw Palmetto Extract works. Gingko works, Piracetam works, GAMMA E-Tocopherol works…. and the list goes on and on and on…

    We know the hell some Germans are going through, and I don’t know when they will ever be able to get reasonably priced supplements again… you want to bring that here? I don’t think you do, but you are playing into the hands of people who want that very much indeed.

    Me, I don’t think they’ve got MY best interests at heart, and I sure as hell don’t trust ’em.

    Why do you trust ’em?

    BJ

  11. I sooo agree with your informed comments Rob, & it now it looks like our campaigning efforts have gone to waste with NZ LAST( first-not!) IDiots being unintegral.
    A very sad day for NZ!
    This pathetic government will only encourage ‘underground’ supplies of supplements as people in the need have an increased demand; as has happened in many European conuntries in response to Codex.
    This being passed as Law will only worsen the culture of NZ & encourage less truth, integrity & harmony.
    If they only knew what a monster they are creating by doing this.
    None so blind as those who refuse to see!

  12. If this was true, meaning if people died from taking prescribed doses proportedly said to be safe, the companies would be investigated and shut down immediately. The million dollar question, why hasn’t Roche, Bayer, Phizer and their ilk been condemned ages ago. Why isnt there an uproar in the death rates that these guys cause. Why have heads not rolled in the US when Bayer and the FDA KNOWINGLY resold a heamophiliac drug with HIV to other countries after it was shut down in the US because kids died of AIDS. Why is more attention focused on the Natural Supplements industry. Comeon, safety has LITTLE to do with it. Profits lost by the controlling industry and lobbies in Govt and ultimately the drug cos. By the end of this decade the wellness industry will be worth 1.5 trillion as predicted by Paul Zane Pilzer, a very well know and influential market analyst. He has now studied the health industry and concluded that drug and junk food CEO’s sit on the same boards and have the very same investors. The junk food industry supplies the obesity and the drug cos pick up from there. The media provides the advertising, and only in NZ and the US do we advertised drugs on TV. All remedies like Induced hypothermia and eggplant, capsicum, vit d and introvenous vit C treatments were even after 80000 patients have shown 98% cancers have been cured, ARE RIDICULED and even the scientists have been killed. Cancer has had many well documented cures, yet we still only offer Chemo legally, notably by many experts and scientists and doctors as a worthless useless treatment. Cut, Burn and radiate. Lets get real cancer is a MASSIVE MONEY MAKER and the truths will NEVER come out if the drug co’s could ever help it.
    Well known Natural health scientists like Dr Rima Labow have said in many TV investigations that there is a ure for bird flu, as bird flu is death by rapid scurvy. The treatment for scury is? Bird flu is cured by massive doses of Vit C powder. But is this feasible in this Pharma controlled world NO. Under CODEX Vit C will be watered down, as it already has in countries like Germany, if Birdflu happens, billions may die, if vit C is suppressed, what then. The useless Tamiflu I ask.
    A good example of the Govt towing the line is the elimination of fizzy drinks in 2009, thats when CODEX comes into force. And at the CODEX meetings, guess who gets invited, you guessed it, the sugar industry and Coca-cola to name a few. Natural Supplement industries are not.
    The “Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses” (CCNFSDU), is chaired by Dr. Rolf Grossklaus, a physician who believes that nutrition has no role in health. This is the “top-guy” for Codex nutritional policy, and he has stated that “nutrition is not relevant to health”.
    As unbelievable as it may sound, Dr. Grossklaus actually declared nutrients to be toxins in 1994 and instituted the use of toxicology (Risk Assessment) to prevent nutrients from having any impact on humans who take supplements! It is worth mentioning that Dr. Grossklaus happens to own the Risk Assessment company advising CCNFSDU and Codex on this issue. This company makes money when its toxicology services are used for the “assessment” of nutrients. In the U.S. they call that a “conflict of interest”.

  13. BJ

    My understanding of the Alpha-Tocopherol Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention Trial and the Beta Carotene and Retinol Efficacy Trial (CARET) is that the doses were pretty normal — far from megadosing. Both trials showed a significant increase in lung cancer and mortality among the participants using the supplements compared to those receiving placebos.

    So in these cases, supplements used as intended were shown to be harmful, causing the deaths of a percentage of users. This was the opposite effect to what was expected, and wouldn’t have been discovered without a controlled trial.

    As I said, I’m okay with you or anyone else medicating yourself as you see fit. What I wouldn’t want to see is a company selling something as a safe remedy when it hasn’t proved its case.

  14. Baz – The most common (cheapest) form of Tocopherol is the synthetic Alpha – the one that works best is Gamma and that’s been well known to the supplement taking community since before everyone started trying to focus on magic bullets. Most of the supplement taking community is far more realistic about this. First off, you don’t just add ONE thing, supplements work together like foods, not separately like drugs. Second, you go through the mortality and morbidity numbers and vitamin overdoses are right down there with being hit by meteors… so for HEALTH reasons, there’s scant excuse for this bill.

    There are quality control and labeling issues, but a trans-tasman agency isn’t needed to manage those.

    I don’t need someone to “prove” something is effective or not. I pay my money and I take my chances based on the things I’ve learned in my own studies and experience. The only thing I want to be sure of is that what’s in the bottle is what’s listed on the label. If after that, I decide to buy something that I expect WILL help me to stay active and alert longer than I might otherwise THAT SHOULD BE UP TO ME.

    The damned drug companies aren’t omniscient, but they come damned close to being omnipotent, and they are the ones pushing this cr@p. They’ve been pushing it in Europe, pushing it in the US, pushing it in Oz and now pushing it here.

    BJ

  15. End of the day it has been PROVEN by our NZ Coroner that they are extremely safe. There also is a vast differnce between FOOD derived supplements and synthetic ones. I cant stress that enough. Natural is absorbed easily, synthetic has to be rearranged by the cells for acceptance, sometimes with toxic results.
    Drug companie produce the bulk of the Synthetic supplements. Smaller companies, apert from several wellknown brands produce totally natural food derived, supplements. eg Mannatech has totally synthetic free vit/min Phytomatrix. Usana and Herbalife as theirs too.
    The concern is at the end of the day the doubious involvement of the drug companies control and CODEX ALIMENTARIUS. This industry KILLS MILLIONS and IS PROTECTED by their beneficiaries.
    More attantion should be focussed on that, not an industry that has been proven the safest, and DOES NOT KILL CONSUMERS.

  16. BJ

    Some supplements have undesirable side effects (increased mortality in the case of beta carotene) when used in normal doses. Trials are necessary to determine the side effects and safe doses.

    And as you say, some stuff works and some doesn’t: if a company wants to attach medical claims to a product, the onus should be on the company to prove that it’s more effective than a placebo.

    zANavAShi

    The longevity of a treatment doesn’t equal proof that it’s harmless.
    Mercury was used medicinally for centuries without a real understanding of the long-term effects.

    If anyone’s interested, there was an article in New Scientist this year concerning antioxidants behaving differently in supplement form:
    http://www.newscientist.com/channel/health/mg19125631.500-the-antioxidant-myth-a-medical-fairy-tale.html
    It needs a subscription to access, but someone kindly posted it here: http://tinyurl.com/yxj76n

  17. No one is saying Natural Supplements shouldn’t be safer, just that Natural Products ARE NOT and should never be classed as DRUGS. Natural products as told by the NZ Coroner are extremely safe. Compare that to drugs and medical care, has a result of the 4th biggest killer in NZ. Now before you say thats untrue and there is no evidence of that, take a closer look under accidental death rates.
    For our Minister to say there should be no grass clipping etc in the products is tit for tat. Drug do kill, and has killed thousands of NZ’ers and an estimated 900,000 US consumers EVERY YEAR. In NZ 1 child died of choking on a tablet, that the facts. Take for instance the Vioxx maricle arthritis drug killed 100,000 alone and the Co faces 600 years of lawsuits. Bayer KNOWINGLY sold Formaraid tainted with the HIV virus, which killed kids. Like Vioxx, othe COX 2 Inhibitors are still being sold for arthritis knowing that they increase deaths due through Heart Attacks to many. There have been current tests on multi million, even billion dollars drugs “pulled” because test groups died. DIED. Who should be regulated better. Why dont the Drug Co’s get disiplined, why. They Kill millions, and get a slap on the hand.
    Because money, lobbyists and sponsorship wins over concerns like life.
    CODEX ALIMENTARIUS will go into worldwide control Dec 31 2009, There are countries already under this control, and have had their Natural Supplement absolutely decimated, and even created vitamin “blackmarkets”. People are being arrested for growing thereputic tea leaves and herbs. Vit/Mins levels are now so low they are worthless and 12 tabs of Vit B can cost over $110. Australia have started “harmonisation” being lobbied from the US. The US are pushing worldwide “harminisation” to enable there big business buddies Big Pharma, who are losing billions to the Nat Health Market.
    Thets get real, once we are under the TTGA, they will implement what is happening there. They have already disroyed 70% of NAtural Products distribution the Pan Pharma. By using 1 DRUG product they distribute called Travelcalm, where it called nausia, so the regulator had the WHOLE BUSINESS CLOSED DOWN. This is proof of their intentions.
    Do your research into this, goto http://www.healthfreedomusa.org/aboutcodex/summary.shtml

    Because the WHO estimated this worldwide implement will lead to the deaths of 3 billion people.

  18. There are two separate issues with this — one of sovereignty — we do not want Australians running such an important aspect of our society. Anyone who thinks we’ll have an equal say in this Agency are fools.

    The second issue is that the medicine side and the dietary supplement(DS) side of the matter need to be separated. Instead of looking at the DS as products it is the raw materials that need to be looked. Many of these are now being used in foods as part of the multi billion dollar functional food industry. This needs to be encouraged , not stifled. If the current proposal goes ahead we’ll have the same raw materials being used in foods as in DS — the only difference is the method of presentation to the consumer. eg. fish oils will are in capsules and are put into foods such as bread. But we’ll have two different sets of regulations covering the use of the raw material and more importantly two completely different philosophies behind the regs. The only person to get confused will be the consumer. This is ridiculous.

    What needs to happen is to have NZ being bold and regulating itself with new forward looking regulations — firstly a new category of product or raw material use needs to be defined ( Health product igredient , health food or something similar ) . This would recognise the current reality . So we’d have medicines/drugs , health product ingredient and foods as three separate identities with appropriate regulations covering there use and the claims that could or could not be used. The NZ Food Safety Authority could regulate the food and health product ingredient side and Medsafe the medicines/drugs as they do now. What I’m talking about here is not new –some Asian countries such as China are goig down this path.

    The Australian system does not solve the problems. For example it is possible to have a raw material that could be sold in bulk for use in foods but if it is put in capsule it now “looks like a medicine” so comes under the TGA regs and if it has not gone through the drug registration regime it cannot be registered and sold.

    Under the current NZ system Manuka Honey cannot make claims of it’s known scientifically proven benefits ( ie. under the food regs. ) but under the TGA system it still would not get any furter because it does not “look like a medicine”. The whole area needs tidying up from a regulatory point of view but not the way being proposed.

    I don’t know alot about the Medicines Act but if it needs reviewing then do it separately. But by NZers for NZers. We don’t need the interference of the Australians.

  19. Oh my gosh, I cant beleive the ignorance or unawareness of some people! This Therapeutic Products and Medicines Bill is serious stuff that will affect our generations for years to come! Our freedom of choice to get well & be healthy & prevent any ill health buy the use of age old natural supplements, herbal medicine & treatments is our birth right!
    I absolutely do not want some ignorant & power hungry drug company telling me what is good for me by their designated doctors – who are by the way untrained in the use of herbal medicine, vitamins & minerals, dietary options, healing organs etc!

    The pharmaceutical companies rule this world with power & money. It might seem like a huge conspiracey theory- but its absolutely true!
    Bottom & obvious line is:-Natural therapies are seen as a threat to the likes of prozac, lipex, losec & other well funded & used drugs. If everyone is well & our health system is focused on a wellness approach, not a sickness approach as it is now- the drug companies wont make an money!!!

    I talk from 21 years of experience in the orthodox & natural health worlds- I am a well trained professional in both! I treat hundreds of people vey successfully using natural therapeutics. NZ has been been privledged to have access to a great range of very safe products that have been tested for centuries by herbalists & naturopaths( by other names)
    Australia lost there right a few years ago & my fellow natural health practitioners have had to retrain in other professions to survive. Not to metion the decline in health in australia!

    For those of you who speak in this blog from unaware stances; Try this letter to the government ‘officials’ on for size!!!

    “Dear Member of Parliament”

    I as a New Zealand Health Practitioner & consumer of Natural health products, am disgusted in our government to find out both NZ First, United Future & our current Government have ignored the views of the public and natural health industry as well as the 2 select committee reports that condemned ANZTPA, and have now pledged their support to the Therapeutic Products and Medicines Bill!
    What are you playing at??!

    Use your intelligence!
    I spent time in Germany at the beginning of the year & their access to natural health products is severely lacking!
    They cannot buy more than 1 herb at time from a dispensary, & normal safe & healthy vitamins are not even on the shelves in health food stores.
    Any vitamins we found in pharmacys were at such low dose levels, that they would do very little to support an individuals immune system, or recovery from illness. It was a joke!
    An adult individual would have to take half a bottle of vitamins C just to get any immune support for just one day!
    Other supplements were extremely over priced & yes owned by drug companies, not health supplement companies.

    ANZTPA is a baby version of Codex which was started in Germany. Without NZ making a stand against such a breach of human rights, we & Australia will also be rail-roaded by drug companies to also lose health giving supplements & herbal medicines.
    It is barbaric & if we dont act now to prevent this, we will lose our freedom of choice forever!

    The health industry is one of the biggest marketing growth areas of today & the drug companies see us as a threat, hence their compulsion to shut us down.
    If the government agrees to this mentally retarded action, you will all be parties in this. When your children or family get sick, & are unfixable by orthodox drug systems, there will be no place for you to turn either.
    Stop this lack of freedom of choice now!
    Say no to this bill being legalised!

    We call on you to honour your word and vote NO to ANZTPA and the Therapeutic Products and Medicines Bill. Anything less will mean you are being a party in the loss of the health industry & the promotion of the sickness industry of NZ.

    Yours sincerely

  20. The govt seems to be taking the approach that someone selling a “medicine” had better be able to provide some evidence that it actually does solve some medical problem without fucking up more than it fixed. I can’t for the life of me see why anyone would have a problem with that. I also can’t see any reason why the paranoia everyone here seems to cheerfully (and justifiably) extend to big pharmaceutical companies shouldn’t also be extended to small companies selling whatever some hippie decides to call a medicine.

  21. People are nuts.
    It’s like 2 self righteous highly paid Allopaths arguing about which is the best way to suppress the symptoms.

    So the reality of our democratic society is you can’t trust multinational pharma corporations to test/regulate with the public’s welfare/health as the REAL foundational principle and you can’t guarantee that individual operator services are causing more harm than good either without regulation.

    What is ALWAYS tipping the balances in favour of self interest being inherently against helping out others is a lack of common wealth binding society together and connecting it to it’s environment.
    You want more truthfullness in society and hence politics, hence better societies?

    You need the Common Wealth that is advocated for by “Dems for Social Credit”.

    Back to the Allopaths..

  22. Baz Says: …the safety of a medicine is determined by properly-conducted trials…

    Properly-conducted trials? Do you realise that the majority of drug research is conducted by medical researchers who are being funded by the drug companies themselves? And that is only the tip of the iceberg about the dubious practices of the pharmacy industry. Try reading some of the articles here at PR Watch for a better overview of what I am talking about:

    http://www.prwatch.org/search/node/big+pharma

    The first rule of medicine is to “Do no harm”, so pardon me if I prefer to place my trust in so-called “alternative” treatments that have been “doing no harm” for many long generations, rather than the latest scientific wonder-drug which was quickly tested by non-neutral scientists and that’s long term side-effects might not even be discovered for a generation or more.

    I’m not saying that “alternative” medicine doesn’t have it’s share of quacks who feed people with false hope and dubious cures, but I think the relative risks of that pale in comparison to the risk of trusting our well-being to the integrity of profit-driven trans-national corporations with massive PR budgets.

    I echo what Amy Adams and Mike Cushman said. It’s all about “the pharmaceutical multinationals lobbying to get the competition out of the way under the pretext of consumer protection”.

    Yay for street politics!!!

  23. Geez…

    Some stuff works, some stuff doesn’t. There’s a half dozen things I want access to cause at my age the gut doesn’t absorb nutrients as well as it did when I was younger and I’m allergic to just about every fruit in existence. Then there are things like Piracetam, which is damned hard to get… but a heck of a mental boost.

    I’m with Sue on this one too. I know damned well what I want and why, and the efforts of big pharma to make money off me, and the efforts of the FDA to ensure that I don’t live so long as to be a problem for the Social Security system (that is, I die when the actuarial table says I should) simply do not impress me.

    Baz…. They’ve proved that if you eat enough of anything you can become sick… and if you limit other vitamin intake at the same time, no single supplement will help. This is about protecting people from themselves or it is about big Pharma looking for more bucks… most of us aren’t about to OD on Berocca.

    So do we limit ALL of our freedom of choice because one person in 100,000 is dumb enough to buy and consume enough vitamin B to hurt him-herself? The stats are clear enough, supplements are safe. For the people who are dumb enough to spend way more money on vitamins than they need to… which would be a lot more likely, how is this going to be corrected by raising the prices?

    respectfully
    BJ

  24. and just on that subject of using safe products..

    go to…..Ms. Magazine | Is Your Lipstick Safe?

    and find out about the poisonous/carcinogenic muck in most lipsticks/deodorants/feminine products..etc..

    (this has been a public service announcement)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  25. This is one issue where I don’t support the Greens… the safety of a medicine is determined by properly-conducted trials rather than by the amount of time that it’s been in circulation.

    Even antioxidant supplements like vitamin C don’t seem to offer the benefits they should — e.g. the protective effects of fruit & vegetables — and can be harmful, as seen in the US National Cancer Institute study of beta carotene.

    If anyone wants to concoct their own medications (such as this gentleman: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/2297471.stm) that’s fine with me but if a company is going to sell the stuff I think the onus should be on them to prove that it’s safe and effective.

    Still, it’s always good to see Winston take a heckling 😉

  26. This is another issue on which I support the Greens, the fact that it means Winston took a bit of a hammering only makes it more enjoyable.
    I am right behind Sue K on this one.

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