Your Voice Is Heard In The Senate – Let’s Redouble Our Efforts To Keep Waxman’s Anti-Supplement FTC Language Out of The Senate Bill!

May 11, 2010
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federal-trade-commission-ftc-logo-300x300Two weeks ago we told you about a “sneak” anti-supplement provision (Section 4901) slipped at the last moment into the House Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (H.R. 4173). This “below the radar” provision is intentionally written in unintelligible legalese that can barely be deciphered by a legislative or legal expert (here is the actual language if you want to try to decipher it yourself). Reduced to understandable language, this section gives the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) broad new rulemaking and enforcement authority.

Although this proposed new FTC authority can be used against a wide variety of industries, it particularly threatens the dietary supplement industry and consumer access to dietary supplements. Why? Because the FTC has adopted a destructive policy toward supplement companies that presently can only be applied to those few companies signing FTC consent agreements. If the new provision becomes law, the FTC could and almost certainly would apply its policy to all supplement companies. The likely result is that many supplements and supplement companies would disappear. (More information about this is available in our alert.)

Drug companies would of course be delighted to see supplement companies put out of business by harsh FTC requirements. They know that supplements are their chief potential competition, are often more effective than drugs, are often less toxic, and are always far, far less expensive.

Supplements are already regulated by the FDA under DSHEA. If the Waxman provision becomes law, the FTC will gain the power to override the limited protections for supplements that already exist under DSHEA. The FDA would still have to respect DSHEA, but the FTC would be under no such constraint.

Many thousands of you have taken action though our website and requested your Senators not to include Waxman’s dangerous FTC power expansion measure in the Senate version of the Wall Street Reform bill. We are pleased to report that the Senate is listening.

The Senate’s Restoring American Fiscal Stability Act of 2010 (S.3217) is moving its way though the chamber right now. Just as we expected, an effort was made by Senator Rockefeller to convince Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-CT) to include Waxman’s FTC provision into the bill before it came to the floor as part of the “managers amendment.” If this had succeeded, the battle would have been over. But we headed this off by making the provision too “controversial”, as Senator Dodd reportedly said.

Still, the fight isn’t over. The bill is on the Senate floor and a senator could still offer the now controversial FTC expansion measure as a floor amendment, although a floor amendment would be much easier to defeat.

If you haven’t already done so, please TAKE ACTION on our alert and be sure to forward the link to your friends and family. The alert will also provide you with more information about the provision and why it is so toxic for supplements.

182 Responses to “Your Voice Is Heard In The Senate – Let’s Redouble Our Efforts To Keep Waxman’s Anti-Supplement FTC Language Out of The Senate Bill!”

  1. Bill Smith says:

    Sounds like someone is pounding the halls of Congress or working for the World Trade folks. Why would any one ( in their right mind ) want to limit convential Health Care Meds and also take away our only other source of medication, which in many cases works as well as or better than convential meds, with little or no side effects.

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  2. Bill Smith says:

    I have read lots of information lately about this suject of controling supplements.
    Many articles seem to think this is a push to give control to the World Trade Organization much
    like they didin the E.U. I hear that vit “C” and many others are now limited in dose and are illegal in some parts of Europe.

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  3. Tim Harris says:

    Please have Congress especiall,y Rep. Waxman who is also from Los Angeles to read this article. I am glad that I am not in his district because I would consider voting against him even it is on principle.

    Sincerely Yours

    Tim

    Accidental Death From Prescription Drugs
    Alternative Medicine Magazine, Issue #25

    Accidental death from prescription drugs, even when they are correctly given, is now the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S.Before you pop another prescription pill, think carefully. Just because your doctor prescribed it is no guarantee you’ll benefit from it or even emerge unscathed from the experience. That prescription pill could be hazardous to your health – and life.

    Ask Stephen Fried.He wishes he could have read his own book, “Bitter Pills: Inside the Hazardous World of Legal Drugs,” (Bantam Books, 1998), before his wife, Diane Ayres, go “floxed” from a bad drug side effect. Diane took a single pill of an antibiotic called Floxin for a urinary tract infection and a few hours later ended up in the emergency room with acute delirium.Serious side effects happen often enough with Floxin, an FDA-approved drug, that those in the know refer to the experience, in a kind of grim flippancy, as getting “all floxed up.”

    But for Diane, getting floxed up didn’t end only with a flurry of medical concern and a battery of tests by hospital staff. Floxin triggered her genetic predisposition to neurological illness which then manifested as mood disorders and manic depression. These in turn required a series of “heavy- duty drugs” to undo, says Fried.The experience was a deeply traumatic one for Fried and inspired him to find out how such an event could happen. it turns out it happens a lot.

    “An investigative journalist and exasperated husband, I am trying to find out if my wife was the victim of a pharmacological foul- up or just a statistically acceptable casualty of ‘friendly fire’ in the war on disease.” By the time you finish reading Fried’s chilling expose’ of the world of prescription drugs, it’s clear Diane Ayres’ situation was not a foul-up but a friendly fire casualty, one of millions, in fact – business as usual in the world of legal drugs.

    Fried learned that well over 100,000 Americans die every year from adverse reactions to prescription drugs and that drug side effects are a leading cause of death in the U.S. (See “The FDA’s Skewed Policies,” this issue, pp 104 – 105.)

    The worst thing that can happen to you when you take a legal drug is not that it won’t work, but that you might drop dead, Fried Says. “The next worse is that your body is permanently damaged.”A little further down the list of drug-induced disasters is that you fall into that seemingly endless “cascade of prescribing” where you need a half dozen strong drugs to undo the side effects of the first one, and then a lot of time to recover from the effects of all of them, as Diane Ayres learned the hard way.Let’s enlarge our perspective a little and look at the scope of prescription drug sales and adverse drug reactions in the U.S.

    We’re talking about an $85-billion-a-year U.S. market for pharmaceuticals, based on 1996 data. Coupled to this figure is a steady yearly rise in consumer prices for the top 500 prescription drugs at a rate that exceeds inflation.

    The hidden cost of this drug “bonanza” is only beginning to emerge. New studies show that mistakes in drug prescribing and side effects from prescription drugs cost at least $76 billion a year (and could be as high as $136 billion, according to other estimates) in extra medical costs. The largest factor contributing to the additional cost is adverse drug effects requiring hospitalization. These mistakes may also double the risk of death.Remember, Fried’s data deals with correctly prescribed drugs; you have to add to this the costs and consequences of incorrectly prescribed medications.

    The misuse of prescription drugs, leading to injury and death, represents a “serious medical problem” that “urgently” requires attention, according to “Archives of Internal Medicine.”To put this in perspective, in 1994, the year this data was collected, Americans spent over $73 billion on prescription drugs. This averages out to $292 per person to buy the drugs and an additional $306 to treat the adverse effects of using these drugs. The math is simple: that’s about $600 for every American man, woman, and child in the U.S.A new study of 1,580 cases tracked at a single hospital over a year shows that adverse drug events (ADEs) were involved in 2.4 per 100 admissions, producing an additional hospital stay of 1.9 days, costing $2,262, and increasing the risk of death by 1.88 – a nearly twofold increase. Out of 91,574 patients admitted to a single hospital over a three-year period, 2.43% (2,227) experienced ADEs.

    According to the study, ADEs may account for 140,000 deaths per year in the U.S.A six-month study tracking 4,108 admissions at two hospitals reported similar results. There were 247 ADEs among 207 admissions (some people had several ADEs), requiring an average of 2.2 extra days of hospitalization at a cost of $3,244 per person. For ADEs that were judged to be preventable, 4.6 extra hospital days per person were required, costing $4,685. The estimated average cost attributable to both types of ADEs for a typical 700-bed hospital is $8.4 million per year.

    A third study indicated the types of prescribing errors doctors typically commit, based on data collected over a year from a 631-bed hospital. Pharmacists reviewed 2,103 prescribing errors and found that the error rate was 3.99 per 1,000 drug prescriptions. Among these, 12% of the errors involved overlooking patient allergy to the type of drug, 11% were due to incorrect dosages, and another 11% to using the wrong drug name.In yet another study, researchers reported that about 30% of the prescribing errors were due to lack of knowledge regarding drug therapy, 29% to lack of knowledge regarding patient interactions with drugs, 17% to arithmetic mistakes, and 13% to using the wrong drug name.

    The error rate was highest (5.89 ADEs per 1,000 prescriptions) for pediatric patients, followed by 5.05 for emergency-room patients, 4.5 for obstetrics-gynecology, and 3.5 for surgical patients. Prescribing an overdose was the most common error, accounting for 41.8% of all mistakes.The pattern of damages, even deaths, created by dangerous drug interactions is already repeating itself in the case of Viagra, the impotence drug released in April 1998 by Pfizer, Inc., of New York. In its first month on the market, 1.7 million prescriptions were filled for the pill promising relief from erectile dysfunction.Yet soon after, 16 deaths occurred in users of Viagra, presumably from fatal drug interactions.

    Specifically, drugs given for heart pain (angina), such as nitroglycerin-based nitrate drugs, seemed to produce the most dangerous interaction with Viagra. In fact, there are at least 41 different nitroglycerin formulations or nitrate-based drugs that are believed to make a deadly combination with Viagra.With these facts in mind, it’s easier to understand the shock, outrage, and urge to find an alternative that inspired Fried both to help his wife heal from the bad effects of Floxin and to write his book.Fried also got a formidable political education in the course of his research. He began to see how and where the power is stacked up in the world of legal drugs and how little science and how much marketing and political influence have to do with medical care in conventional medicine.

    It’s a power play on a global scale, Fried says.Drug companies are merging and in turn buying firms that decide which drugs the HMOs will get, says Fried. The drug companies are controlling the flow of information about the medicines to doctors and the public; they’re directing the allocation of funds for drug research and physician education; and they’re going after the consumers directly in a massive advertising campaign to stir up interest in their latest products.Fried’s revelations are sobering. If you thought illegal drugs was the major drug problem, you’ll look at “the other drug problem” – legal drugs – far more critically after reading “Bitter Pills.”

    Passivity and lack of knowledge in the face of prescription drugs could cost you your life.”Understanding drug reactions has been a way to explore what is wrong with the entire international pharmaceutical business – a $250 billion enterprise ($700 billion if you count all the other products sold by drug companies) that has managed to repel scrutiny more effectively than almost any other major industry, while remaining the world’s most profitable industry through many changes in economic climate,” says Fried.

    Presiding over this global drug cover-up is the FDA, an agency responsible for “regulating 25% of America’s entire gross national product and whose policies are the benchmark for world regulation of drugs and medical devices,” says Fried. If this information is new to you, by the time you finish his report, your eyes will be wide open and you may feel angry enough to take political action. You certainly will think very hard before you automatically take that next drug.The point is, his wife’s bad drug reaction – it took her four years to recover from it – could happen to anyone who takes a prescription drug. One doctor told Fried that antibiotics, the second most commonly used class of drugs in the world, are improperly prescribed 40% to 50% of the time, due to wrong dose, wrong duration, wrong drug. “Apparently everyone in medicine knows this except the patients,” says Fried. Now you do, thanks to Fried.

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  4. Fredric Wiebe says:

    According to a March 2, 2009 press release from Representative Henry Waxman (CA) [http://waxman.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=115176]] “New GAO Report Finds Need for Additional FDA Oversight of Dietary Supplements”. The press release gives the impression that Waxman’s efforts are in response to problems identified in the GAO report [http://energycommerce.house.gov/Press_111/20090302/gaoreport.pdf]; however on reading the GAO, it turns-out that the report is in response to specific questions posed by Waxman. Waxman’s attempted to slip (sneak) this new legislation into the Wall Street reform legislation.

    The logical implications are that this attack on vitamins, nutritional supplements and herbs is part of a backroom deal that was made with the pharmaceutical industry to gain their support of the recently passed flawed health care reform bill.

    There is a major way brewing between the drug industries (including the pharmaceutical industries and much of the AMA) versus the natural health industries (including vitamins, nutritional supplements, herbs, whole foods, alternative health therapies). Pharmaceutical drugs have been shown to be a leading cause of death in the U.S. because of secondary drug reactions, organ failures, etc. Holistic natural health strategies, to the extent that they are effective for an individual, provide safer, healthier and less expensive benefits. The pharmaceutical drug industries would like to have nutritional supplements regulated as drugs to suppress their availability. Since natural products are unpatentable, there is very little likelihood that packagers of these products would be willing to pay the vast amounts of money necessary to get an unpatentable natural ‘drug’ approved. The effect would be to stifle competition from natural products.

    So far, each attempt to regulate vitamins, nutritional supplements and herbs as drugs has failed, but the pharmaceutical industries have deep pockets, and there are many people in Congress that they apparently own. If Waxman has become a lackey for the pharmaceutical industries, then it is time to replace him with someone willing to do the people’s business.

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  5. Steve Mallon says:

    Tell Mr. Waxman to worry about more important issues in America…hmmmmmm, let’s see, maybe I could help him out by recommending a few (immigration, economy, jobs, education, Senate term limits, etc). Also tell him to keep his nose out of my vitamin bottles. I like them just the way they are.

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  6. Tricia Salimbeni says:

    We live in a society with legislators legalizing marijuana and trying to restrict the use of vitamins as dietary supplements. This illustrates that it is all about the profit margin and not about protecting our society. I think that chemo patients should have all that is available on this planet to treat themselves, no questions asked. The same for those of us who want to stay healthy without having to compromise our well being by taking synthesized medications with myriad side effects.

    Most Americans lead busy lives and do not get all of the daily recommended and required nutrients to stay healthy. Some of us eat the wrong foods or do not eat enough at all. Supplements fill the gap.

    A society as a whole only hurts itself when it blots out an entire industry or scientific freedom of discovery to control competition. Everyone knows that competition is a healthy thing. You can’t stop people from seeking the comfort of herbs and supplements any more that you can stop them from having sex, so stop trying!

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  7. lORETTA tOLVA says:

    REGULATE SUPPLEMENTS IN AN FTC BILL? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? THE FDA IS INCOMPETENT TO REGULATE ANYTHING THESE DAYS! BUT PUTTING THIS IN AN FTC BILL IS PAR FOR THE COURSE THESE DAYS.
    STOP THE REGULATING ALREADY! WE’RE REGULATED TO DEATH ALREADY!
    I’D SURE LOVE TO HEAR YOUR REASONS FOR IT, OTHER THAN THE FACT THAT BIG PHARMA IS LEFT OUT OF THE PROFITS! AND WE ALL KNOW HOW MUCH THEY LOBBY AND PAY POLITICIANS TO GET WHAT THEY WANT.
    LEAVE MY SUPPLEMENTS ALONE! STAY OUT OF MY LIFE!
    HARD TO BELIEVE THAT WITH THE STATE OF OUR COUNTRY, THIS IS A MAJOR CONCERN FOR WAXMAN. HOW MUCH HAS BIG PHARMA GIVEN HIM? HE HAS TOOOOO MUCH TIME ON HIS HANDS!

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  8. Steve Dyer says:

    The greedy pharmaceutical companies need to to step aside.

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  9. Andra Addis says:

    It is very interesting to note that the federal government did not feel it was necessary for the financial industry and the oil industry to have any regulations and the federal immigration laws which should have been enforced so Arizona did not have to take it upon itself to enforce laws that were already on the books, and now all of a sudden we need stricter regulations on the companies which make natural supplements so these companies can be put out of business because the pharmaceutical companies don’t want any competition. This is simply awful and unacceptable. Millions of people, including myself, do not have to take dangerous prescription drugs because natural supplements keep us healthy with no side effects. I think the government needs to focus on regulating the industries which need to be regulated and leave the natural supplement companies alone.

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  10. I am a small business owner “living the American dream” and i am watching our rights being taken away 1 by 1. Small businesses can’t get loans from banks, utility payments are going higher and higher, fuel surcharges are being tacked on to our deliveries because of gas prices and now Waxman would like to just shut my vitamin store down alltogether.

    This is an outrage and it must be stopped.

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  12. Paul Cruz says:

    Slowly one by one our right to choice is peeled away. The only alternative “should not” be the cost of a doctors office visit and expensive prescription.

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  13. Sondra Braun says:

    Do NOT let any one take away my right to heal myself NATURALLY with supplements. Henry Waxman MUST GO. The pharmaceutical companies MUST GO. DRUGS are making us sick and killing us NOT the supplements! Supplements cured my cancer.

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  14. This is pushing us further into a ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT NEW WORLD ORDER and the CODEX ALIMENTARIUS that is the ENDGAME OF THIS will classify nutritional supplements and alternative health as “TOXINS” . Other countries are already living under this TYRANNY……….. http://WWW.INFOWARS.COM. GOOGLE: ” ALEX JONES DOCUMENTARIES ”

    THE ENDGAME OF ALL THE TYRANNY WE ARE LIVING OTHER IS TO DEPOPULATE THE PLANET BY 85%. FIGHT FOR YOUR LIVES!!!!!!!!!!!

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  15. Winnie Stang says:

    NO TO WAXMAN’S “SNEAK” ANTI-SUPPLEMENT PROVISION (SECTION 4901) SLIPPED AT THE LAST MOMENT INTO THE HOUSE WALL STREET REFORM AND CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT (HR4173).

    WE THE PEOPLE HAVE THE RIGHT TO MAKE OUR OWN DECISIONS WHEN IT COMES TO OUR HEALTH/TAKE NATURAL SUPPLEMENTS. THE GOVERNMENT AND ALL LEGISLATURES SHOULD NOT INTERFERE OR HAVE ANY CONTROL IN THIS REGARD.

    .

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  16. Johnston says:

    Keep up all the good job for all concerned.

    Thank you!

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  17. Kathy says:

    Please keep Senator Waxman’s provision out of the bill. I think the individual should be responsible for his or her own health and not Big Pharma. I guess they can’t be happy with the huge amounts we know their already making. “United we stand, divided we fall.”

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  18. louisejana says:

    Please don’t allow the FTA to take away our freedom of choice in health care. Many of us know the great value of quality supplements that in many cases, have allowed us to get off of allopathic pharmaceutical medications that have numerous side effects. Please enforce the14th Amendment and do not pass any legislation that would interfere with our freedom of choice to improve the quality of our health and lives.

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  19. Robert English says:

    Please don’t include that in your law

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  20. Please remove the last minute amendment (Section 4901) in the Wall Street Reform Bill (HR 4173).
    Please enforce the 14th amendment. I need and want to have my freedom of choice when it comes to my health and well-being.

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  21. Suzan Rawlins-Meyer says:

    Where have all the heroes gone? Long time passing! What is the Waxman add-on doing in this bill anyway? The best approach is to vote out of office politicians such as Waxman and anyone who supports this sneak attack on our natural rights.

    Fellow citizens, the best thing we can do is start keeping a close eye on our elected representatives and if one of them votes for such a bill, he doesn’t get re-elected. Trust has to be earned and knowing how our politicians vote will clearly indicate they are just that and do not care to earn the title Statesman.

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  22. Eve Newsom says:

    Please remove the anti-supplement language that Rep. Waxman put into the consumer protection bill.

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    • Helen Feldman says:

      I HAVE A GOOD HANDLE ON MY HEALTH. HOWEVER, I STILL HAVE A HIGH AMOUNT OF ARSENIC IN ME. AS I TRY TO RID MYSELF OF THIS POISON, IT CONTINUES TO BE REPLACED BY THE FOODS I SO CAREFULLY CHOOSE. THIS IS NOTHING SHORT OF ATTEMPTED MURDER BY THE FDA.

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  23. Deb says:

    I just can’t believe how little we value human life anymore. What happened that it’s only how much money you can make instead of how can we actually heal that person or first do no harm. Can we ever get back to those principals? No I don’t think big Pharma will let us but we can still try, so please remove any language that Rep Waxman has put into this bill to get rid of supplements. Let us have the freedom to choose which direction we want to go for our health.

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  24. Laura Seebacher says:

    First of all, I would like to thank the ANH-USA for all of your hard work and for alerting us to these constant threats against our rights to obtain dietary supplements. I would also encourage people to call their state senators in Washington as well as sending them e-mails.

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  25. Lori says:

    I’m a super senior who’s alive and well, thanks to natural supplements. I save the taxpayers money by avoiding pricy/poisonous pharmaceuticals! Don’t let the FTC – or anyone else – dictate how I control my own health! CHOICE IS MY RIGHT!

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