The Health Freedom Movement march is over (thank so many of you for attending), but the fight has just begun.
In early May and with no prior warning, Australia's Therapeutic Goods Administration stripped some 80 per cent of all vitamin and other alternative supplements from healthfood store shelves. They managed this extraordinary feat by simply cancelling a single manufacturing license. Pan Pharmaceuticals, a large Australian company, produces its own line of prescription drugs and also offered a manufacturing service for some 80 per cent of providers of alternative medicine in Australia.
In late 2002, The TGA received complaints that an over-the-counter Pan product called Travacalm, for travel sickness, caused minor hallucinations. In January 2003, the product was recalled due to the side-effects of its active ingredient, dimenhydrinate.
But the TGA did not recall any of the 15 other multinational pharmaceutical products containing dimenhydrinate.
Three months later, the TGA banned 1363 of Pan's natural-medicine products. No reason was ever given for targeting this line. Travacalm was not a natural product, and every single one of Pan's prescription drugs were left alone.
While this travesty of human rights was going on, Health Canada, Canada's equivalent of the US Food and Drug Administration, began to seize and block the importation of a vitamin/mineral/amino acid supplement that had good evidence of helping people with bipolar disorder and other forms of mental illness. EMpowerplus is produced by Truehope, a company which espouses the view that mental diseases are the product of a biochemical imbalance and not a 'sick brain'. EMpowerplus was found effective in a number of published trials (Clin J Psychiatry, 2003; 64: 338; J Clin Psychiatry 2001; 62: 933-935, 936-44; J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol, 2002; 12: 205-19).
Happily, Truehope's founders aren't taking this lying down. Truehope's non-profit mental-health support group, along with a variety of mental health patients, are suing the government, alleging that Health Canada and the Minister of Health are acting outside their statutory authority and jurisdiction. To view the court documents, see www.truehope.com.
Increasingly, it's evident that these moves are part of a concerted campaign to shepherd the growing number of renegades in Australia, Europe and North America who have turned toward natural healthcare back into the habit of taking prescription drugs.
It's vital that we don't stop with the march. With the government so powerful and health freedom under threat around the world, it's easy to feel disaffected and powerless. But every major social change started with a tiny grassroots movement and snowballed into an unstoppable instrument of change.
In this country, the Food Supplements Directive will be voted on by both houses in a few weeks. Download our proclamation (asserting our rights to defy this law if passed) from HFM's website (www. healthfreedommovement.com). Circulate it to everyone you know to sign (include e-mail addresses) and return it to us to deliver. Write to your MP today and tell him you won't vote for him again if he votes for these directives. (Check our website about what to say).
Remember, a law is simply a contract between the ruled and rulers. It can only be enforced if the people allow it.