Congressmen Chaffetz and Polis introduce historic Free Speech About Science Act
From our friends at ANH-USA:
For Immedate Release: April 5, 2011 Contact: Darrell Rogers 202.467.1986
Washington, DC – Today, Congressmen Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Jared Polis (D-CO) introduced the Free Speech About Science Act (HR 1364). This landmark legislation protects basic free speech rights, ends government censorship of science, and enables the natural health products community to share peer-reviewed scientific findings about natural health with the public.
Gretchen DuBeau of the Executive and Legal Director of The Alliance for Natural Health USA (ANH-USA) says this legislation is critical because “current FDA regulations prohibit dietary supplement manufacturers and food producers from referring to any scientific studies on the health benefits of a food or natural substance.”
In the FDA’s view, even providing a link on a vitamin supplement manufacturer or organic food producer’s website to a scientific study converts a healthy food into an unapproved drug. The FDA knows that natural products and supplements are food, not drugs, and they do not fit into the drug regulatory model. The result of this counter productive approach by the FDA is decreased access to safe, natural approaches to staying and getting healthy. “This is what we call the great Catch 22 of contemporary American medicine, the FDA, which is supposed to guard and promote our health, is hostile to the kind of natural medicine—based on diet, supplements, and exercise—that represents the real future of healthcare,” said DuBeau.
The Free Speech About Science Act addresses access to information by providing a very carefully targeted change to FDA regulations. The bill ensures that legitimate, peer reviewed scientific studies may be referenced by manufacturers and producers without converting a healthy food or dietary supplement into an FDA unapproved drug. The bill amends the appropriate sections of current law to allow the flow of legitimate scientific and educational information while still giving FDA and FTC the right to take action against misleading information and against false and unsubstantiated claims.
“It is important for individuals and families to take charge of their personal health by making the right decisions to get and stay healthy,” said Chaffetz. “This includes accessing information so that individuals can adjust habits, eat healthy, and take appropriate dietary supplements to prevent and even treat health conditions. The Free Speech About Science Act helps insure their access to legitimate scientific research to make the necessary decisions to improve their personal health and the health of their families.”
“Today’s science has shown that vitamins and nutritional supplements can offer successful, natural alternatives to drugs,” said Polis. “As we begin to reform our nation’s healthcare system, supplements are an innovative way to help reduce costs. The Free Speech About Science Act is a common sense act that will make it easier for doctors and consumers to learn about the cheaper, healthier alternatives to costly medicines that food and nutritional supplements provide.”
About the Alliance for Natural Health USA (ANH-USA): www.anh-usa.org ANH-USA is part of an international organization dedicated to promoting sustainable healthcare and freedom of choice in healthcare through good science and good law. We protect the right of natural-health practitioners to practice and the right of consumers to choose the healthcare options they prefer by lobbying Congress and state legislatures; educating the public, press, and decision-makers about integrative medicine; initiating legal actions; and joining and forming significant coalitions. As a membership-based organization, we unite consumers, practitioners, and industry to speak with a common voice and have worked since 1992 to shift the medical paradigm from an exclusive focus on surgery, drugs and other conventional techniques to an “integrative” approach incorporating food, dietary supplements and lifestyle changes.