Consumers are largely kept in the dark about the potential health benefits of foods and supplements. Why? Because current law makes it illegal for food and supplement producers to share this information.
Congressmen Jason Chaffetz (R–UT) and Jared Polis (D–CO) have introduced the Free Speech about Science Act (HR 1364). This landmark legislation protects basic free speech rights, ends censorship of science, and enables the natural health products community to share peer-reviewed scientific findings about natural health products with the public.
This is a small bill with vast potential leverage.
For this very reason, the bill will have opposition. It will be opposed by the FDA, which flatly forbids food and supplement manufacturers from mentioning any link between a product and a health condition, and by drug companies fearing competition from natural health approaches.
If a company is marketing vitamin D, they can be thrown in jail for claiming their product can lower your cancer risk, even though there are more than 800 scientific studies to back them up.
As unbelievable as it sounds, current law makes it illegal for natural supplement producers to share this life-saving information with you.
But the new bill proposed by representatives Chaffetz and Polis could change all of that!
It would pack a big punch, were it to pass, but you can expect fierce opposition from the pharmaceutical industry in the meantime.
You have the right to reliable information backed by legitimate scientific research, to assist you in making informed choices about your health -- and this bill is a major step in that direction.
FDA Censors the Science of Natural Health
The FDA applies a totally biased standard to health claims for natural supplements -- including claims substantiated by good science -- a standard that violates your right to informed consent about your health care.
The FDA regulations currently prohibit manufacturers of dietary supplements or producers of food from referring to any scientific study documenting the potential effect of the substance on a health condition, punishable by large fines and even jail. Disclosure about the benefits of a dietary supplement or food, no matter how credible, places the food in the category of "unapproved drugs."
In other words, if a product makes a medical claim, it's automatically classified as a drug.
For example, cherry growers have been threatened by the FDA with jail time if their websites even contain links to scientific studies from Harvard and elsewhere, outlining the health benefits of cherries for gout or arthritis pain. Green tea growers have received similar threats.
This is because these studies are regarded as extensions of the product label, even if the study is merely referenced on the website, and not just on the packaging.
Imagine the drug companies not being permitted to tell you what their products could do for you ... do you think they would roll over for that?
Not a chance!
And the FDA isn't content with the existing regulations -- they are on the verge of implementing new standards that are even MORE unfair to the dietary supplement industry, which could put many small manufacturers right out of business.
The American Association for Health Freedom (AAHF) states:
"The FDA ignores first amendment protections and censors the communication of valid scientific information. The agency seems to have lost sight of its mandate to protect the public and has instead come to see itself as the guardian of corporate interests."
Natural Agents and Pharmaceutical Drugs Warrant Different Standards
The FDA's current position is that foods such as cherries, broccoli, turmeric and the like should be subjected to the full FDA approval process. But this would cost as much as a billion dollars per food!
With few exceptions, it's impossible for food producers to assume such costs for natural and therefore non-patentable products. It's ludicrous for the FDA to require natural products to be "vetted" the same way as drugs. In nearly every case, natural products are safer and more effective than synthetic drugs, as science has shown, time after time.
Not to mention that natural agents are much cheaper than pharmaceuticals.
The drug companies KNOW what your decision would be if you were given the opportunity to make an informed choice between inexpensive, safe and effective natural remedies, versus expensive, dangerous and ineffective drugs—it would be a "no-brainer" that would severely cut into their bottom line!
I am thrilled that Congressmen Chaffetz and Polis are courageously taking on the FDA by introducing HR 1364, the Free Speech About Science Act of 2011 (FSAS), in hopes of finally ending this egregious censorship of science.
How HR 1364 Would Revolutionize Your Health Care Options
HR 1364 would amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to allow the flow of legitimate scientific and educational information.
The new bill provides a limited and carefully targeted change to FDA regulations so that manufacturers and producers may reference legitimate, peer-reviewed scientific studies without converting a natural food or dietary supplement into an "unapproved drug."
According to Rep. Chaffetz's website, the provisions of HR 1364 do the following:
- Allow dietary supplements and healthy foods to cite legitimate scientific research
- Provide a clear definition of the types of research that may be referenced by growers and manufacturers
- Ensure that referencing such research does not convert a food or dietary supplement into an "unapproved (and therefore illegal) new drug"
- Retain the authority of FDA and FTC to pursue any fraudulent and misleading statements
According to Rep. Chaffetz:
"It is important for individuals and families to take charge of their personal health by making the right decisions to get and stay healthy. This includes accessing information so that individuals can adjust habits, eat healthfully, and take appropriate dietary supplements to prevent and even treat health conditions.
The Free Speech About Science Act helps insure their access to legitimate scientific research to make the necessary decisions to improve their personal health and the health of their families."
Rep. Polis adds:
"Today's science has shown that vitamins and nutritional supplements can offer successful, natural alternatives to drugs. As we begin to reform our nation's healthcare system, supplements are an innovative way to help reduce costs.
The Free Speech About Science Act is a common sense act that will make it easier for doctors and consumers to learn about the cheaper, healthier alternatives to costly medicines that food and nutritional supplements provide."
Call to Action
More and more of you are taking charge of your own health, improving your diet and emphasizing preventive care. As you know, diet, natural supplements, and lifestyle choices play a huge role in prevention of disease.
The FDA should be at the forefront of this movement, rather than standing in its way. Instead, it blocks producers from giving you truthful scientific information -- even spreading misinformation fed to it by powerful industry lobbyists.
Please lend HR 1364 your support by signing on as a co-sponsor TODAY.
Use the Alliance for Natural Health's HR 1364 page to send a letter to your representative in support of this bill.
And forward or post this article to all of your friends and loved ones who care about their health and their right to informed consent. Don't underestimate your power and influence!
Together, we can be a force for much-needed change.