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Eu vitamin laws infringe our human rights to health

MagazineDecember 2002 (Vol. 13 Issue 9)Eu vitamin laws infringe our human rights to health

Re the EU legislation on vitamin/mineral supplementation (VMS), it seems to me that this encroaches on human rights and, as such, could be sued for in the European Court of Human Rights

Re the EU legislation on vitamin/mineral supplementation (VMS), it seems to me that this encroaches on human rights and, as such, could be sued for in the European Court of Human Rights.

Firstly, by limiting the types of supplements available on the market, the directive restricts the potential choice of the individual. For individuals who are used to purchasing high-dose VMS for specific ailments or general health, the curtailment of these products could potentially dramatically alter their quality of life.

Secondly, the legislation infringes on the right of the individual to maintain his own health. Of all the complementary therapies, nutrition is the one most solidly based on science. To deny people access to substances that have been researched and, in many cases, proven to improve health is to deny them the ability to care for their own health. By restricting supplements to only those forms approved by the Medicines Control Agency, many of which are poorly bioavailable - such as calcium carbonate - is to restrict the decision of an individual to improve his health.

There is also an issue surrounding the right, and need, for the individual to take responsibility for his own health. The complementary health industry has been promoting this message for years, and the general public has become less inclined to hand over this responsibility to their doctors - prompted by many medical scares, and a growing awareness of their own ability to self-medicate and self-care. By removing the substances by which the general public can do this, the EU vitamin directive also removes the ability of the individual to perform this self-care and self-medication.

I realise that many of the best legal minds are addressing this issue; however, I have not seen any information in the press that addresses it from this angle. It may be worth examining it to see if this is a valid argument with which to confront this appalling piece of legislation. - T. Callis, Walthamstow


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