To: Health Freedom,Codex Issues
Subject: Lawmakers Mull Regulating Dietary Supplements: Consumers Must Engage in Preemptive Strike Against Senator Breaux
From: John Hammell email@example.com
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 10:51:53 -0400
IAHF List: See the Reuters article below my comments. I am waiting from a call back from Senator Breaux's office regarding his ill conceived desire to attempt to do the bidding of the Pharma Cartel and FDA as he "considers" introducing legislation allegedly "necessary" to "reign in" the dietary supplement industry. I will be putting Breaux under the microscope in the next couple days to thoroughly examine his FEC reports in order to see how much money he took in via pharmaceutical donations because we might have to go to war against him if he introduces a bill, as he is currently threatening to do.
I would encourage everyone on the IAHF list to call Sarah Tregel, the legislative assistant in Breaux's office (via US Capital Switchboard 202-225-3121) who handles health matters to discuss the following with her:
1) Go to http://www.laleva.cc/petizione/english/ronlaw_eng.html and read the pro vitamin information there to Sarah.
2) Go to http://www.laleva.cc/petizione/ron_law_tables/tabella.html and call this safety information to her attention.
3) The FDA has all the power it needs right now via DSHEA to regulate dietary supplements, we don't need protection from dietary supplements, we need protection from the Pharma Cartel, because properly Dr.prescribed prescription drugs are currently the world's 4th leading cause of death (JAMA)- and the Pharma Cartel is only trying to use people like Senator Breaux to keep safe dietary supplements from competing with their killer products in the marketplace.
As Codex harmonization efforts increase globally, we can expect increased attacks of this kind in the USA and all over the world, and we must remain vigilant.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The chairman of a Senate panel said on Monday he may seek tighter regulation of the $27 billion dietary supplements industry, citing alleged marketing abuses by one of the largest herbal-remedy companies and its owner, who was pardoned by former President Bill Clinton. Glenn Braswell, who was pardoned in January for a 1983 mail fraud conviction stemming from his sale of a product that he falsely claimed cured baldness, invoked his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination and refused to answer the questions of Sen. John Breaux, chairman of the Special Committee on Aging.
After the hearing, Breaux, a Louisiana Democrat, said legislative action may be needed to protect seniors, many of whom use anti-aging products and other dietary supplements as an alternative to traditional treatments or to save money on expensive prescription drugs.
"We're going to explore it," Breaux told Reuters, referring to legislation that would give federal regulators new tools to ensure the safety of supplements and keep companies from making false claims about their products.
An estimated 60 percent of Americans take some form of supplement with no apparent health problems. But lawmakers and health experts say some anti-aging products can pose health risks, particularly to the elderly, and unlike new prescription and over-the-counter drugs, U.S. law does not require them to undergo premarket approval for safety and efficacy.
The General Accounting Office, which conducts investigations for lawmakers, warned the Senate committee that seniors may be particularly at risk of "physical harm from the use of anti-aging alternative medicine products." Breaux said he was "disturbed" by the GAO's findings.
The Senate hearing focused largely on the marketing practices and advertising claims of Braswell and his GB Data Systems Inc., the holding company for at least 10 businesses selling a wide range of dietary supplements.
The former chief financial officer of GB Data, Michael O'Neil, told the committee that Braswell's products -- which claim to treat everything from constipation to anxiety -- "could not possibly deliver what is promised in the advertising." The process used to recruit customers, O'Neil added, was "flawed and laden with lies and deception."
The Senate panel had subpoenaed Braswell, who allegedly paid Clinton's brother-in-law to press for his pardon, to testify along with Ron Tepper, editor of the Journal of Longevity. Committee aides allege that the journal is used as a "marketing and advertising tool" for Braswell's products.
Both were sworn in by Breaux, but they refused to answer questions. Committee aides said they were urged by counsel to invoke their Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination in light of an ongoing investigation by federal prosecutors and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
"These are clearly cases of 21st century snake oil salesmen," Breaux said. "They sell slick-looking advertisements that look like medical journals but take advantage of the elderly by putting both their health and their finances at risk. It is clearly fraudulent and it simply will not stand."
During the hearing, experts warned of the health risks associated with taking certain herbal and non-herbal supplements along with prescription drugs and other FDA-approved medication.
St. John's Wort, for example, may reduce the effectiveness of certain antiviral drugs. Other compounds used in supplements can cause vomiting, breathing problems, convulsions, and even coma and death when used in large amounts.
Breaux was critical of existing laws that put the "burden" on the FDA to prove that products are unsafe before they can be removed from the market. That contrasts to the drug market where manufacturers must establish safety and long-term effects to get FDA approval. "It seems to me we have a serious problem which needs to be addressed," he said.
While Breaux said legislative changes appeared necessary, other senators said the onus was largely on the FBI, the Food and Drug Administration and other regulatory agencies to crack down on abuse using existing laws.
"Clearly we must enforce the law, remove the threat of dangerous products from the market, and bring to justice criminals who prey on the frightened and hopeless," said Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho, the ranking Republican on the committee. "At the same time, we should remain wary of calls for expansive regulations that may restrict an individual's freedom to make his or her own health decisions."