Supplements are under attack again. There is a new Bill before parliament that has passed its second reading which means it could become law at any time. You have heard very little about it from the media, they have long been the promoters of the medical profession and every new ‘wonder drug’ the pharmaceutical cartel comes up with. I have always thought their stance has a lot to do with where their advertising dollars come from.
I believe it is our fundamental right to choose what healthcare path we take. To be blunt, governments do a terrible job at relaying accurate and timely health care information to the masses, (don’t eat eggs in the 1990’s ‘raises cholesterol’, the Food Pyramid of the 1980’s (should have been called the ‘Bread’ Pyramid’), stay out of the sun message (causing vitamin D deficiency), mercury fillings…etc and they refuse to back down when they are wrong. Look no further than the attacks on Hamilton City Council for rejecting fluoride in water as a recent example. To recap, the Council invited both sides of the water fluoridation debate to present their case, the anti-fluoride in water lobby presented many credible scientific experts, the pro-fluoride lobby could not prove adding it to water was either safe or that it worked, and so the council dropped it.
Rather than accept the decision, the health bureaucracy has responded with numerous comments that such decisions should be ‘taken away from councils’ and given to unelected bureaucrats who work for the Ministry of Health. Personally, I think the health bureaucrats thought all they had to do was turn up and that would win the day, after all that usually carries the day with most health decisions. They are simply not used to having their absolute rule questioned or having to actually make an argument for what they do.
Whenever the government passes a law, it transfers a little (or a lot) of our power to make decisions about our own lives to the government, and this power is lost to us forever, we will never get it back. Our freedom to make our own decisions about how to run our lives is being stripped away, one freedom at a time. In a democracy that trumpets freedom as some kind of core value, your rights to make decisions of all kinds are being removed and given to people you don’t know, have never met, have never voted for and whose motives you know nothing about.
But I believe we are the rightful owners of our lives, not the government. We need the government to get the big stuff right, law and order, education, superannuation etc. If a group of New Zealanders don’t want fluoride in their water – what right does the government have to tell us we have to have it?
I think the real reason the Hamilton fluoride decision has become such big news is that’s it marks a turning point; the trust we have in the medical system and the supposed experts has been eroded and now people are doing their own research and actually thinking for themselves. The internet has opened up a second channel (separate from doctors and the health bureaucracy) for people to educate themselves about these subjects. For the first time they can see the downside of various healthcare interventions and initiatives, and not just the purported benefits that the health bureaucracy wants us to see. The near absolute power to control the flow of information has been broken; we can now ask Dr Google about the real side effects of drugs and whether or not they even work. Like the Arab Spring, the authorities are seriously concerned this outbreak of ‘free thought’ will spread. If people realise they can stop fluoride, then they will start questioning all the other agenda driven advice we receive from the government.
Government figures suggest that over half of Kiwis use supplements. We have been using the internet to find out about new potential remedies for decades now, and the supplement industry has much more sophisticated products than were available even a few years ago. The ‘wellness’ industry is a threat to the medical monopoly, and it is a direct threat to the profits of drug companies. Where indoctrination against using supplements is failing, when the flow of useful information cannot be easily stopped we have the emergence of a new method of control, one that bypasses our right to make our own decisions – regulations.
During the last Labour government Labour tried to pass 497 pages of regulations restricting sales of dietary supplements. It was called the Therapeutic Products and Medicines Bill, and was due to be part of a combined deal with Australia, the Trans-Tasman agency. It was one of the most egregious, unjustified attacks on freedom we have ever seen. Annette King, then the Labour Minister of Health exemplified this when she said of the supplements industry ‘these things are killing people’ referring to her figures demonstrating that three people had died from supplements over eleven years (Dr Wally Bain, Crown Coroner, lawyer and pharmacist said in 2006 that he could find no instances of death). She said nothing about the 1524 kiwis who died in 1998 alone (one single year) from the side effects of pharmaceutical drugs. Nor did she mention in her zeal to keep us safe that one kiwi dies every two hours 24/7 from smoking…. and yet cigarettes are sold in dairies outside schools.
You might think that if she really cared about saving the lives of kiwis, she would have done something about either one of these mass killers, but that was never the point. The point of this law was never about good government, or passing good legislation or even doing a darned thing to stop kiwis dying, it was about following the global agenda to restrict and limit the supplements industry which is becoming a greater and greater threat to the pharmaceutical industry, a trillion dollar cartel.
This current regulatory push against supplements is not just happening in New Zealand, it is happening right across the globe, in many countries at the same time. There will be severe restrictions on advertising, the idea being that if the industry is gagged then it’s hard for people to find out about advances in supplements. Of course, all of this will be sold to you as ‘protecting your safety’ when in fact it is designed to protect the drug companies from the competition from safe, effective natural products. We don’t know what the results of these new regulations will be, the government’s own figures during the last battle suggested half the products would be removed from shelves due to the cost of compliance alone. I can say that National told us at a meeting just before they got elected that their new ‘New Zealand based’ regulatory regime would be ‘extremely light handed’. From what I have been able to tell, this is looking increasingly unlikely.
Daniel King, MSc (hons)