Jamaican Ministry of Health Puts Squeeze on Vitamin Imports
Holistic Herbal Association Fights Back

by John Hammell

Vance Lannaman was formerly the Jamaican Ambassador to Norway, and today he owns Fit for Life Ltd., a health food store in Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies. Vance is a member of Life Extension Foundation, of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, USA which is one of my clients. Working through the Jamaican Holistic Herbal Assn, Vance Lanneman is spearheading the Jamaican health freedom movement, and we've been working together for over a year.

I have a meeting today with the Secretary to the Prime Minister of Jamaica, who is visiting relatives in Miami, and I will be seeking to assist the health food stores in Jamaica who are currently being forced by the Ministry of Health to pay a $5,000 registration fee per product to import them from the states. This fee, called a "PSP" or "Pharmaceutical Services Permit" is required along with a slew of product assays and other expensive testing designed to raise the hurdles such that only the largest manufacturers can play in the game.

What is happening in Jamaica, is identical to what is happening in Australia, Canada, S.Africa, Europe, and.... what is about to start happening in the United States... (If you haven't seen my article titled "Supplement Commission Recommends that Herbs be Regulated as Drugs" which was published in the December issue of Life Extension Magazine (which is out now), get a FREE COPY by calling Life Extension Foundation at 1-800-841-5433. If you are outside the US, email your request to them at lef@lef.org with a copy of this email mssg.

In January, Vance faxed me an article from the Jamaican press titled "Food Supplement ads Spur Ministry Action" The article was about how the Ministry of Health had heavily fined Health-Pro Jamaican Ltd, the promotors of Health-Pro Pycnogenol, for "illegal advertising" because their claims had not been "Approved" by the so called "Pharmaceutical Services Division."

Leslie Giacombe, vice President of the company denied that he had made a drug claim, since Pycnogenol is a FOOD, not a "DRUG" "What this product does is to neutralize free radicals (chemical compounds) which have been linked with certain diseases such as cancer and cataracts," said Mr. Giacombe.

He said that studies have shown that Pycnogenol, which is derived from the bark of a certain pine tree in France, helps to destroy chemical compounds usually found in those diseases.

"It does not cure the disease. So we always advise our customers to see their doctors and use it along with prescribed medications to help combat these illnesses, who added that they encourage integrated medicine instead of alternative medicine.

Grace Allen Young, Director of the Pharmaceutical Services Division argued that Giacombe's ad violated "Section 3, Paragraph 1" of the so called "Food and Drugs Act" which states that: "A person shall not advertise any food, drug, cosmetic, or device to the general public for the treatment, prevention or cure of any diseases, disorders, or abnormal physical states mentioned in the First Schedule." The schedule includes cancer and cataracts, which were mentioned in Giacombe's ad.

So, today, the creeping tentacles of the multinational pharmaceutical cartel have even reached the land of wood and water (Jamaica), a nation where the populace has a long cultural tradition of using herbal remedies that extends over to the African continent. Isn't it ironic that the people of Jamaica are being denied access to herbs and other dietary supplements through their health food stores?

Vance Lanneman just told me that he has spoken with many Jamaicans who now live in the States who will never return to the island due to the extreme oppression of the Ministry of Health, which blocks access to a slew of products that are regularly available in any health food store.

Meanwhile, back in Amerika, (an alleged Free Country), a fake grass roots industry front group called Citizens for Health, of Boulder, Colorado is pushing for Amerika to be as restrictive as Jamaica through their endorsement of the illegal move by the Commission on Dietary Supplement Labels to expand the OTC drug category to include herbs. (see www.emord.com) and the IAHF website.

While so called Citizens for Health vehemently asserts that "there is no international conspiracy on the part of the pharmaceutical industry to take over the natural products industry", they have been putting out spin control in an effort to mold public opinion on the Codex issue. They don't want people to look too closely at it, or at related issues. They want people to THINK that they are the foremost experts on these matters, and they and the pharmaceutically connected herb companies that contribute heavily towards their operations are so worried by my efforts to get the truth out there that they have erected a website specifically to attack me, and to do spin control against my message that herbs are NOT drugs!

Just as they did not back HR 1411 a couple of years ago (since it would have plugged the gaping holes in DSHEA that would have stopped FDA from regulating supplements as "drugs" they will undoubtedly attempt to find some excuse not to try to get cosponsors on HR 2868, the Consumer Health Free Speech Act, which would change the current overly broad definition of "Drug" to exclude foods from the definition, because they don't want us to be able to make therapeutic claims on dietary supplements, they are pushing hard for the expansion of the OTC drug category and have been working hand in glove with the FDA to do it, while PRETENDING to push for health freedom!

Those of you who are members of CFH might consider quitting the organization, and instead sending a donation of any amount to a REAL grass roots entity: IAHF. The address is in my signature. Only IAHF is telling the TRUTH about the international pharmaceutical conspiracy to take over the natural products industry. CFH tries to paint me as an "extremist" and an "alarmist." On Monday, 11/24, the Commission on Dietary Supplement Labels will be uploading their long awaited Final Report to http://web.health.gov/dietsupp Led by good ol' boy Ken Fisher, formerly of FASEB, (which does so much subcontracting for FDA that they might as well be a PART of the Agency), and by Margaret Gilhooley (a former FDA attorney, now working as a law professor at Seton Hall University in N.J.), the Commission on Dietary Supplement Labels will be doing something which attorney Jonathan Emord says oversteps their statutory authority under DSHEA: recommending that herbs be regulated as drugs when therapeutic claims are made. (see

Please call your Congressman and ask him to cosponsor HR 2868, the Consumer Health Free Speech Act, which will allow us to make therapeutic claims on Dietary Supplements. Download a form letter backing HR 2868 from the IAHF website.

In Canada, ask your MP to back the Reform Health Freedom Amendment. Get a copy from Grant Hill's office at 613-995-8471, or by faxing your request to 613-996-9770. Hill's bill was formerly known as the "Foods are Not Drugs Amendment", originally proposed by Freedom of Choice in Health Care. The RHFA is a private members bill, and all Canadians should actively get behind it.

In Jamaica, link with the Holistic Herbal Assn through Fit for Life Health food store at Dragon Centre, 6 South Avenue, Kingston 10, Jamaica, W.I. 809-960-3447, fax 809-960-3590.

Those of you who are members of the industry front group "Citizens For Health" might consider quitting the organization, and instead sending a donation of any amount to a REAL grass roots entity: IAHF. The address is in my signature. I just defended your health freedom in Washington by getting the FDA Reform Bill amended to specifically exempt dietary supplements from the so called "harmonization" language which would have caused our food and drug law to be made the same as that in the EU where supplements are regulated as "drugs". Only IAHF is telling the TRUTH about the international pharmaceutical conspiracy to take over the natural products industry. CFH tries to paint me as an "extremist" and an "alarmist", but that is because they are doing PR for the companies that want to turn herbs into "drugs".

You be the judge. Do you LIKE the idea of having to pay through the NOSE for your supplements? Do you LIKE the idea of helping a fake grass roots front group which is really involved in HELPING the pharmaceutical take over of the natural products industry? Foods are NOT DRUGS! They aren't drugs in Jamaica, Canada, America or anywhere ELSE! ONLY IAHF is linking health freedom activists around the world together via the internet. Please help me to hire a helper, and to have badly needed funds for more trips to Washington.

Please help us raise the money to bring Ron Birckhead over from Norway so we can make a health freedom video to distribute through every health food store in America. Ron witnessed the destruction of health freedom in Norway, and the same pattern that he observed there is now unfolding world wide. Ron was driven out of business by the drug cartel. He used to be a vitamin distributor. You need to know his story, so please help me bring Ron over to Florida from Norway to make a health freedom video. We need between $1500 - $3500 for round trip airfare from Bergen, Norway to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale. Ron can crash on my pullout sofa, so it won't cost anything to put him up. I can buy his meals, but need your help with this project.

Lastly, I'm on a Mission from God. I need your help. This isn't the movie the "Blues Brothers" with John Beluchi and Dan Akroyd-- this fight is for real, so please help in any way you can because we sink, or swim, together. Please forward this to more people, and send in your donation today. Anyone can be added to my email distribution list by sending a mssg with "ADD" in the subject line.

For Freedom,


November 23, 1997

Donations Needed- Am One Person Working Alone
International Advocates for Health Freedom
John C. Hammell, Legislative Advocate
2411 Monroe St.#2 Hollywood, FL 33020 USA
800-333-2553, 954-929-2905, FAX 954-929-0507,
FAX ON DEMAND 954-927-8795,jham@concentric.net