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by Zoltan P. Rona, M.D., M.Sc.

"As long as the government is able to arbitrarily define literally any food as a drug, freedom of choice in health care is under attack."

Grant Hill, Reform Party of Canada Health Critic
News Release
Oct. 6, 1997.

In a desperate attempt to save face, on Oct. 6, 1997, Canadian Health Minister Allan Rock announced that he will ask the Commons Health Committee to carry out a public review and examine whether our health products are drugs or should be regulated under an entirely new category under the Food and Drug Act. Before you rejoice in the mistaken belief that the government has lifted the crackdown on herbal and homeopathic remedies scheduled for Jan. 1, 1998, consider some hard facts.

While certain factions of the so-called health food industry closely tied to large pharmaceutical firms applauded Rock's action and the push to create a class of more expensive food supplements known as "nutraceuticals" (The 3rd Category of non-food nutritional supplements) with associated drug identification numbers (DIN's), small herbal manufacturers were announcing that they were going out of business.

"For the past two years we have faced constant uncertainty in this politically charged industry. With increasing and unrelenting pressure the Canadian government is fulfilling their obligations to the U.N.'s Codex and big business. We have wished to remain small in our business and as a small company we find it impossible to oppose the economic and political pressures of standardization, DIN's, manufacturing fees and so on. With much discernment we have made the decision to stop selling finished tinctures and formulas."

St. Francis Herb Farm Inc., Cormac, Ontario
October 1, 1997.

St. Francis Herb Farm will be out of business by November 21, 1997 and other small firms will soon follow.

Health Minister Rock's answer to all the confusion and damage caused by his government against the natural health product industry is to create yet another time-wasting, money-wasting government committee trying to delude us into thinking that our vitamins, minerals and herbs need to be regulated as something other than foods. The real reason for this is that, in order for the agenda of the pharmaceutical industry via NAFTA, GATT and the up and coming MAI to be fulfilled, products that do not fit the quasi-food/quasi-drug nutraceutical mold must be removed from the food category.

Missing from Rock's grandiose speech was any mention of an investigation into the many atrocities committed by the Canadian HPB (Health Protection Branch) which created the huge public furor against the government in the first place. Where is the investigation of the mercury dental amalgam issue, the HIV and Hepatitis C tainted blood supply scandal and the lax regulation of lethal prescription and over the counter drugs? In the meanwhile, Canadians still do not have access to at least 40 different natural supplements freely available to all citizens of the USA, Japan and the UK. Rock's announcement said nothing about allowing Canadians access to these products. To date they are still unavailable.

HPB Protects the Pharmaceutical Industry, Harms the Public

October 1997
Zoltan P. Rona, M.D., M.Sc.
1466 Bathurst Street, Suite 305
Toronto, ONT. M5R 3J3
PH: 416-534-8880; FAX:416-534-6723