When something is broken, it should be fixed or replaced. This applies to the many defective parts of the legal system that regulators, both in the USA and Europe, are building around natural health products.  Lobbying, advocacy or even riots in the street will resolve little, unless accompanied by carefully planned legal challenges that are set to fix the bad laws that have been imposed to either stop us speaking freely about the health benefits of natural health products, or accessing them. 

In his most recent article, ANH-Intl’s executive director Robert Verkerk outlines why legal action is needed to stop regulators’ abuse of power over the public’s access to natural medicine in the US and Europe. Two of the oldest traditional medicinal cultures based around the use of natural products, from China and India respectively, are now massively threatened in Europe. These traditions are accessed, in their respective homelands, by one-third of the world’s population. Millions of people in Europe, the USA and elsewhere have adopted Traditional Chinese Medicine or Ayurveda, either because they originate from these cultures or they have experienced their benefits. 

Decisive action is needed to help secure the future of these age-old and, for millions, indispensible healthcare systems. To prevent European citizens’ access to these systems of healthcare amounts to an infringement of human rights.  As we’re increasingly seeing, it’s not as simple as products being banned because they are deemed harmful. It’s about the imposition of an extraordinarily and unnecessarily complex obstacle course of regulation that makes it more or less impossible for products of these traditions to navigate. The bans foreseen in Europe by mid-2011 are therefore indirect rather than direct.

The article sets the scene by describing a recent successful legal challenge against the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which tried last year to revoke the selenium / cancer risk reduction health claim that is supported by a strong body of scientific evidence. Without doubt, the abuse of power by regulators needs to be reeled in and a series of legal actions will be one important way of ensuring the legal framework around natural health does what it’s supposed to do, rather than acting as a noose around the neck of natural health.

To read Dr Verkerk’s article, to be published in the next issue of Caduceus magazine, download the pdf

CADUCEUS is a healing, spiritual magazine focusing on psychological, emotional, spiritual, ecological and environmental health, therapy and growth, including natural, holistic, energy and complementary medicine, and offers a directory of CAM, complementary, alternative therapists and clinics.


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