The Vitamin Lawyer Reports – Pending Litigation on the World Stage

During July, I met with several attorneys, publicists and health freedom advocates in New York City to discuss the current state of health care freedom in the United States and other western countries. Together, these individuals have had decades of experience representing major figures in the field and supporting innovative changes to current restrictions.

We discussed Pearson v Thompson, Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw's pending litigation regarding commercial speech issues that lead attorney Jonathan Emord will be arguing in November before the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. This is the same court that issued the leading decision in Pearson v Shalala, in 2000, securing greater access to truthful information about nutrients.

Several of us will be submitting Friends of the Court briefs on behalf of health freedom groups. We expect this case to further extend the Free Speech status of statements regarding nutrients, in keeping with the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case (from 2001) Thompson v Western States Medical Centers, wherein Justice O'Connor, speaking for the pro-Speech majority wrote, "If the First Amendment means anything, it means that regulating speech must be a last - not first - resort."

The participants also discussed the Alliance for Natural Health and the lawsuit they seek to bring, regarding the restrictive European Union Food Supplements Directive. We concluded that this case was even more important in the long run. As American health care law is "harmonized" with Canadian, Australian, etc. law, the FSD will be the model that international bureaucrats will seek to implement. WTO rules appear to make this almost inevitable, despite some weak statutory verbiage in the 1997 FDA modernization act telling the agency that it may not "harmonize" American health freedoms to restrictive rules elsewhere. I don't know enough about the merits of the litigation to know its chances, but do know the reputation of the attorneys involved and must defer to their expertise; they are quite convinced of its viability.

Those present therefore concluded that people around the world, and especially American vitamin and complementary health care companies (where about 2/3 of the world expenditures on nutrients and alternatives occur) need to politically and financially support the ANH litigation. This is more important than opposing or supporting pending legislation in the US (which don't have much chance of passing now anyway), and of the same high priority as supporting the Pearson case. Americans must raise, as an important political issue, that the EU and other western countries need to harmonize their out-of-date restrictive policies with the expanding rights to truthful health freedom information, nutrients and complementary therapies that have benefited Americans since the adopting of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA) and subsequent pro-Speech court decisions. The ANH can be reached through

Ralph Fucetola JD