• Insulting scheme by pair of senators could be first salvo in larger war for the future of health freedom in U.S.
By James Spounias —
Are politicians using the United States military as a first step to turn over the nutritional supplement industry to a few insiders tied to Big Pharma?
It seems so.
Senators Richard Joseph “Dick” Durbin (D-Ill.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) tried again to introduce a rider to the National Defense Authorization Act that would restrict supplement sales to military personnel at U.S. bases.
Specifically, the language of the rider would have required all supplements to undergo a third-party review for “recognized public standards of identity, purity, strength, and composition, and adherence to related process standards.”
Why would Washington want to put additional burdens on supplement manufacturers when they are already regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are safe, according to the Government Accounting Office (GAO)?
In a GAO report, supplements got a clean bill of health. About half of the American population takes supplements, roughly 157 million people, yet there was a total of only 6,307 supplement-related adverse event reports submitted to the FDA between 2008 and 2011—an average of 1,575 a year. The Alliance for Natural Health figures “one-hundredth of one percent of all supplement users ever experience any problems at all.”
Does this sound like a reason to put additional burdens on an industry with a strong safety record, let alone a crisis? Hardly.
Compare with that the record for prescription drugs. In 2008 alone there were 526,527 adverse event reports for FDA-approved drugs, of which 275,471 were considered serious. Given the fact that Big Pharma lines the pockets of politicians and serves as a well-worn revolving door between it and the FDA, the prospect of recognition of the problems prescription drugs pose, let alone legislative action, is virtually nil.
If any politician is truly interested in protecting U.S. troops, it would be a nice start not to send them to unjust wars. The injustice of President George W. Bush’s 2003 invasion of Iraq on the allegation that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction is best captured by Bush’s own theatrical mockery of looking for said weapons at a White House press correspondents’ dinner.
From blocking claims of those who suffered from Agent Orange and Gulf War Syndrome poisoning to the excessive experimental vaccination programs, as well as providing proper equipment and better pay to mercenary-contractors while denying U.S. troops life-saving equipment, our political establishment has no credibility whatsoever when it comes to the pathetic claims of “protecting” our men and women in the armed services.
There should be a special place in hell for politicians who send troops to unjust wars and then later deny them treatment and care once they return.
This is especially true of Blumenthal, who continually lied about his military service.
Blumenthal regularly discussed his time serving in Vietnam until The New York Times exposed his lies in a May 17, 2010 article.
There was one problem: Mr. Blumenthal, a Democrat now running for the United States Senate, never served in Vietnam. He obtained at least five military deferments from 1965 to 1970 and took repeated steps that enabled him to avoid going to war, according to records.
The deferments allowed Mr. Blumenthal to complete his studies at Harvard; pursue a graduate fellowship in England; serve as a special assistant to The Washington Post’s publisher, Katharine Graham; and ultimately take a job in the Nixon White House.
In 1970, with his last deferment in jeopardy, he landed a coveted spot in the Marine Reserve, which virtually guaranteed that he would not be sent to Vietnam. He joined a unit in Washington that conducted drills and other exercises and focused on local projects, like fixing a campground and organizing a Toys for Tots drive.
To add insult to injury, innovative therapies such as hyperbaric oxygen treatment (HBOT) are heralded in Israel for their military who suffer from traumatic brain injury (TBI) yet withheld in the U.S. Curiously, however, U.S. troops are sent to Israel for treatment. According to the National Hyperbaric Oxygen Association, “Their treatment protocol includes 60 daily sessions of hyperbaric oxygen done five days a week. In fact, American military veterans are traveling to Israel for treatment.”
The insulting aspect is that in the U.S., innovative physicians have been using HBOT for TBI, notably strokes, for decades and have been harassed by state medical boards and federal agencies. Dr. David A. Steenblock is one of the pioneers of using HBOT for TBIs, having conducted his own study in 1997. Of the “50 stroke patients, 97% reported good to excellent to remarkable results from a regimen of HBOT, physical therapy, and biofeedback training.”
Dubbed a quack by so-called skeptics of alternative medicine, Steenblock has had fines and disciplinary actions levied against him since 1991 by the California Board of Osteopathic Medicine.
Why do Americans have to travel to Israel for a treatment that is already known in America?
When Blumenthal attempted to increase regulatory burdens upon supplement manufacturers on the pretense of protecting the troops, alarm bells went off among those who are aware of big government’s goal to eliminate a free market in nutritional supplements and alternative medicine.
By trying to make it law that supplements available to military members must be approved by a third party, Blumenthal’s rider not only favors a select group of companies tied to Big Pharma, it also lays the groundwork to expand the additional regulations to affect all Americans.
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The Alliance for Natural Health explains: “In addition, once this regime is established, it will be only a short step to expand it to all U.S. consumers, not just the military. Then the pharmaceutical industry will have what it really wants: control over the supplement industry. Many supplements will become drugs and soar in price while their availability is restricted. As with any monopoly, quality will also decline, because regulations are never a substitute for real competition involving new and small as well as old and large companies.”
Be sure to let your House and Senate members know you do not want third-party approval required for supplements sold on military bases. Tell them you want the freest access to these safe and helpful substances.
James Spounias is the president of Carotec Inc., originally founded by renowned radio show host and alternative health expert Tom Valentine and his wife, Carole. To receive a free issue of Carotec Health Report—a monthly newsletter loaded with well-researched and reliable alternative health information—please write Carotec, P.O. Box 9919, Naples, FL 34101 or call 1-800-522-4279. Also included will be a list of the high-quality health supplements Carotec recommends.
* An estimated 770,000 people are either injured or die each year in hospitals from adverse drug events (ADEs), defined as an injury that has resulted from medical intervention and is related to a drug.
* The number of deaths from drug poisonings in the U.S. has increased sixfold since 1980.
* Fully 40% of these deaths, in 2008, involved the use of prescription opioid pain relievers, such as codeine, fentanyl, hydrocodone, morphine, and oxycodone. The same figure for 1999 was 25%.
* In 2008, drugs like oxycodone and hydrocodone (these are the main ingredients in Oxycontin and Vicodin) landed 305,885 Americans in emergency rooms. This is more than double the figure for 2004, 144,644. Source: Samsha and the CDC, 2010
* Overdose deaths involving oxycodone, hydrocodone, and synthetic narcotics such as fentanyl and propoxyphene now exceed deaths from heroin and cocaine combined. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).