The founder of the Alliance for Natural Health, Dr. Robert Verkerk, spoke this past weekend at the Natural and Organic Products Europe conference in London during what is clearly an important time for big ideas, given the changes occurring there.
The potential impact of “Brexit” (the United Kingdom’s “divorce” from the European Union passed by referendum in June 2016) was a focus of the panel discussion. Dr. Verkerk made this all-important point :
One of the biggest problems we have is the intersection of food and medicine law. The reason we have a roadblock, with products being taken off the market, is because medicinal law imposes itself far too often on food law….We’ve now got a very different scientific environment to the one that this regulation grew up in. We now know that food is medicine, we know that exercise is medicine, and therefore we need to re-frame the way that foods can be used for therapeutic benefit, and I think that will yield a fundamental change. I believe we need to review the whole of medicinal law in relation to the use of therapeutic foods. And that could create a possibility of a third route.
Of course, Dr. Verkerk is alluding to the fact that, by law, only government-approved drugs (in the US, only FDA-approved drugs) can claim to diagnose, cure, mitigate, treat, or prevent diseases, even if there are mountains of evidence to show that a natural vitamin or mineral can help with a disease. And because such approval commonly costs billions, only patentable, new-to-nature molecules fit the system. Food, food supplements, and exercise are totally excluded, even though we now know that they are often the most powerful medicine we have.
Check out a short video of Dr. Verkerk’s remarks here.