By John Hammell, © 1996
In Germany, the trains run on time and the beer is
unsurpassed, but pharmaceutical companies like Hoechst are working
overtime to drive small vitamin companies out of business in an
effort to take over the supplement industry. Hoechst's vehicle is
the Codex Alimentarious Commission, which is developing
international standards for dietary supplements.
LIFE EXTENSION FOUNDATION
The motives of the pharmaceutical companies are revealed
in a letter by Matthias Rath, M.D.(Fig. 1) to German
Chancellor Helmut Kohl and members of the German Parliament
The letter is entitled "The Health Interests of Millions of People
Are More Important Than The Stock Price of the Pharmaceutical
In his letter, Dr. Rath, who is a German living
in California, noted that a German proposal before the Codex
Commission is being heavily pushed by Hoechst, Bayer, and BASF --
the three companies formed when IG Farben was disbanded
after the Nuremberg War Trials because of their role in
manufacturing the poison gas used in the Nazi concentration
Eradicating Cardiovascular Disease
Dr. Rath notes that he has developed a scientifically
sound nutritional protocol for eradicating human cardiovascular
disease, but that this protocol threatens the interests of
Hoechst, Bayer and BASF -- all of which manufacture dangerous,
ineffective, and outrageously expensive heart medications.
Clearly, through their support of the Codex Commission,
Hoechst, Bayer, and BASF, are contributing to the death of
millions of people -- as heart disease is the world's number
one killer. More than 12 million people will continue to die
worldwide every year from premature heart attacks and strokes if
they are denied access to affordable preventive therapies.
Advancing The German Proposal
Regrettably, the German government ignored Dr.Rath's
impassioned plea, and held the Codex meeting in Bonn anyway.
Moreover, they continued to advance the German proposal that
could one day severely restrict your access to dietary
supplements. They jumped from step 3 to step 5 during this
meeting. In two years when they meet again, they could jump
from step 5 to step 8 and finalize things!
In addition, the Codex Executive committee might allocate funds in June
for the creation of an "expert panel" on herbs which might create a
"negative list" that could limit consumer access to these products
internationally. The formation of this "expert panel" was advocated by
Canada, and seconded by a majority of the delegations present.
Obviously we will need to monitor this very closely and will attempt to
be a part of the expert panel. We also encourage people such as Roy
Upton from American Herbal Pharmacopoeia to participate. They have
developed approximately 300 highly objective monographs on botanicals
including Ayurvedic, Chinese, and Western herbs that are commonly in
use in the United States- and are pro consumer.
Do you want your favorite supplements replaced by
expensive, patented, over-the-counter and prescription drug?
Unless a much bigger international coalition can be formed within
the next two years to save our health freedom, we will see it
stripped from us as the drug companies play a game called
"boiling the frog slowly."
Report From Bonn
I am writing this from the Hotel Europa in Bonn Germany
because The Life Extension Foundation sent me here to report on
the 20th meeting of the Codex Alimentarius Commission's Committee
on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Use. I just sat through
a week's worth of meetings as part of the U.S. delegation, which
was one of 39 member countries comprising a total of 187
Prior to coming to Bonn, I worked with Suzanne Harris,J.D.
of the Law Loft in Johnstown, Colorado to draft comments on
the German proposal for dietary supplements and other issues
discussed at the meeting. (Our Codex comments can be downloaded
from our web site (www.lef.org) on the Internet. Pat Stern in our
information office will mail these extensive comments to anyone making
a donation of $25. or more.
Ron Birckhead and I reported on the Codex International
Threat to Health Freedom in the February and April issues of Life
Extension Magazine, however before I outline what happened in
Bonn and what we must do to save health freedom, I will
summarize the nature of the problem we are facing.
What Is The Codex Alimentarius Commission?
Codex Alimentarius is latin for "food code." The Codex
Alimentarius Commission is an FAO/WHO United Nations entity whose
purpose is to "create a set of international standards to
guide the world's growing food industry and to protect the
health of consumers."
Germany has been attempting to manipulate the Codex
Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Use to
further the interests of the German pharmaceutical industry,
by raising regulatory standards so that only the big drug
companies like Hoechst, Bayer, BASF, Degussa, Fresnius,
Rhone-Poulenc, Sandoz, and Novo Nordisk can survive.
The purpose of Codex is "...to guide and promote the
elaboration and establishment of definitions and requirements
for foods, to assist in their harmonization and, in doing so,
to facilitate international trade."
Since being established in 1962, codex has produced
28 volumes of standards, guidelines and principles, including 237
food standards and 41 hygienic and technological practice codes.
Codex has resulted in evaluations of the safety of over 700 food
additives and contaminants and the setting of more than 3,200
maximum residue levels for pesticides. As of 1994, Commission
membership included 146 countries.
The German "Proposed Draft Guideline for Dietary
Supplements" calls for the following:
- No dietary supplement can be sold for prophylactic
(preventive or therapeutic) use;
- No dietary supplement sold as a food can exceed potency
(dosage)levels set by the commission;
- Codex standards for dietary supplements would become the
reference international standard under GATT, and a reference
international standard under NAFTA.
- The current trend is for countries to adopt the international
standards either individually or in regional compacts. If that happened
in the U.S., all new dietary supplements would automatically be banned
unless they conform to Codex standards- (which would require going
through a very expensive drug like approval process.) The Delaney
clause, which used to protect us against carcinogens in our food
supply, has already been "harmonized" to a Codex standard which favors
pesticide manufacturers, and not a single member of Congress protested
What It's Like In Germany
All anyone needs to do in order to grasp the motives
behind the German proposal is to visit any German health food
store and pharmacy (called an "apothecary").
In a German health food store, you simply don't find the
shelves filled with vitamin products that you see in the U.S.,
Canada, the U.K. or Australia. You won't find a single product
by Twinlab, Standard Process Brands, Solgar, Solaray, or any of
the other usual brands.
What you WILL find is little besides health food. You'll find
organic vegetables, macrobiotic staples, herbal shampoo, skin
creams, Birckenstock sandals, books on massage, and only a
handful of multi-nutrient formulas in OTC drug form such as
"Alsiroyal", a royal jelly, vitamin E and ginseng.
Where You Can Get Supplements In Germany?
The answer is that you really CAN'T! The closest thing to
the products available to Americans and can only be found as high
priced, prescription and over-the-counter drugs found in
pharmacies called apothecaries, such as the "Apotheke im
Stadthaus" on Berliner Platz in Bonn where I went
with a list of the products I usually take.
The first thing that struck me about the "Apotheke im
Stadthaus" was that I was BLOCKED from even accessing the products
I was looking for by a long counter that extends the full width of
the store. BEHIND that counter, standing GUARD over the products
was a phalanx of registered pharmacists wearing white lab coats.
I told one of the pharmacists, a woman named Christi
Himmelfahrt, that I was moving to Germany for 6 months, and needed
to stock up in the states on supplements before returning.
She asked me a slew of annoying questions, and gave me a
lot of unwanted advice regarding my supplement program. I cut
her short by informing her that I just wanted to price a few
products and be on my way, and that I wasn't used to not being
able to look at the products myself. She stared as if in shock at my
"impudence" and proceeded to pull boxes containing various OTC drugs
off the shelves lining the wall behind the counter.
All the products available in a German apothocary are
listed in a "PDR" like volume called "Die Rote List"
(ISBN 3-87193-167-5). There one can find a complete listing
of international pharmaceutical firms that manufacture patented
analogs of dietary supplements sold as OTC and prescription drugs.
Through this you can see who the companies are that are trying
to manipulate the Codex process.
German Rip-Off Prices!
Here is an example of how OTC drug prices at "Apotheke
im Stadhaus" compare The with Life Extension Foundation's
LEF: Vitamin C, 250 caps, 1,000 mg, $22.50, cost per gram: 0.090
GERMANY: Vitamin C not available in 1 Gram caps, only in
a quantity of 20, 1 Gram effervescent lozenges (Merck) which cost
6.45 DM or $4.19 U.S. (U.S. dollar=1.5263 DM). Cost is .209 cents
per mg). German cost is more than double LEF cost.
The largest sized tablet of vitamin C in Germany is 250 mg
(Merck)(a huge, hard-to-swallow tablet -- they don't have capsules).
Their price for 30 tablets is 18.89 DM or $12.27 US (cost is
$1.63/gram in Germany vs .09 cents per gram for the Life
Extension Foundation product. The German cost is 18.11 times
HIGHER than the LEF cost
I consume 20 capsules/day of C, or 20 x 365 = 7300
capsules/year. My cost at .09 cents per gram (73,00 capsules x
1 gram or 7,300 grams x .09/gram = LEF cost of $657/year.
If I consumed 7,300 grams x $1.61 cents/gram, my cost per
year in Germany would be a whopping $11,899/ year-- or FAR more
than I can afford to pay for vitamin C, ESPECIALLY when I figure
the cost of the OTHER supplements I take! The German price for
1 gram of vitamin C is 18.11 times higher than the LEF price!
North American Pharmacies Move In On Supplement Market
Americans and Canadians had better wake up because on
Oct. 14, 1996 a press release announced the publication of "The
Natural Pharmacist," a new magazine exclusively for retail