Canada, U.S. Move to Make Vitamins Prescription Drugs
Canada Moves to Stifle Health Freedom;
Make Vitamins ‘Prescription Drugs’
By Mike Finch
Canadian bill C-51 would put natural remedies such as vitamins and herbs in the same regulatory category as pharmaceuticals. If the bill passes, it would dangerously increase government oversight and power regarding natural remedies. “The increased powers and the changes proposed by bill C-51 give Canadians—informed Canadians—a very great cause for concern,” Conservative Member of the Canadian Parliament James Lunney said in testimony before parliament.
“Given the tools that are in C-51. . .could ensure that a lot of good products do not see the light of day.” The “tools” Lunney referred to are greatly increased powers given to the minister of health, Tony Clement. The bill would require applications for all clinical trials, allow Clement to categorize natural remedies and require prescriptions for them, require licensing for all natural remedies, and potentially allow entities like the World Health Organization or Codex Alimentarius [a United Nations globalist creation pushing to tightly regulate what you can and cannot consume] to impose regulations on Canada without regard for the opinions of the voting population or their representatives.
“We’re seeking to gain the new authority to reassure the public that the government can, and will, act to protect health and safety as early as possible,” Minister Clement said in an April press release. Clement would do this by “allowing products, persons or establishments to be registered and licensed.” Lunney said that vitamins, proteins, minerals and herbs have always been “public domain.” This legislation would place such remedies in the same category as prescription drugs. Canadian pharmaceutical companies have been strangely silent on the legislation, columnist Alan
Cassels of Common Ground magazine said. “How can we explain tight lips [of Canadian pharmaceutical companies] around the biggest change to the Canadian drug relations in half a century? I can’t answer for sure, but let me hazard a guess: It’s because they like it. They like it a lot,” Cassels said. “Let’s face it—any law that kicks sand in the face of a competitor by blinding him with bureaucratic red tape is a pretty sweet deal.”
But Cassels sees even more in the bill that drug companies will likely love: increased speed in drug approvals, Big Pharma control of after-market testing and an allowance for public advertising. Now Canada’s airwaves will also have drug commercials that the U.S. has had for years. “DTCA (Direct to Consumer Advertising) is the jewel crown of pharma marketing—a potentially $500 million per year ad market in Canada that can transform a ho-hum or even dangerous drug into a blockbuster, through the power of persuasive ads,” Cassels said.
While the drug companies have more freedoms with this bill, the natural remedy industry has fewer.The current process for registering a product with the government is so cumbersome that Lunney estimated 20,000 to 30,000 natural remedies are awaiting approval, and have been for years. C-51 will just provide more red tape. Lots of it. “It seems products like Red Bull [a so-called energy drink] gets an NPN (approval) fairly readily . . . but natural health products that could have a real impact on serious sickness seem to have a hard time getting through,” Lunney said.
Mike Finch is an intern for American Free Press. He specializes in alternative health and energy issues. He has a Master’s degree in journalism and is working on his Ph.D. in communication. Mike presently lives with his wife in Virginia.
(Issue # 28 & 29, July 14 & 21, 2008)