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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The End Of Big Pharma’s Dictatorship Could Be In Sight

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The End Of Big Pharma’s Dictatorship Could Be In Sight

Recently we told you about the Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive (THMPD) — a new European law that came into effect on 1 May 2011. This draconian legislation makes it almost impossible for a traditional herbal medicine to be licensed in Europe unless it has been used for 30 years in the European Union (EU) – or 15 years in the EU and 15 years elsewhere. According to the THMPD, if a particular remedy has not been used for this amount of time, then it won’t be licensed and it will be illegal to sell! As you can imagine, this is very bad news for the thousands of Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine remedies countless people rely on.

Add to this the harsh restrictions being placed on nutritional supplements and countless other natural remedies, and it’s hardly surprising that the tide is staring to turn… people are not prepared to be dictated to when it comes to their health any longer… especially by those who are even trying to convince us that drinking water doesn’t prevent dehydration (the latest health claim being dismissed!)

There has been a massive backlash both from the public as well as Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). MEPs in particular started asking serious questions about the hundreds of health claims being rejected by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) — a body that currently threatens natural healthcare in the EU.

So far, the EFSA has carried on regardless, but now it looks as if things might change and with a bit of luck and a lot of perseverance our voices may still very well be heard.

Protecting Big Pharma
In the latest development, MEPs have expressed their complete and utter disdain, in no uncertain terms, over the so-called independence of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) — the body entrusted to determine the safety and effectiveness of drugs in the European Union (EU).

In a damning comment of the EMA, MEPs said that there appears to be no proper guarantee of the independence of experts hired to carry out scientific evaluations of pharmaceutical drugs.

Furthermore, MEPs believe that some of the experts involved in evaluating drugs have conflicting interests and that the EMA’s hiring practices are dubious and indicate further conflicts of interest, in particular the way in which they get funding and spend public money.

In short, the EMA are being accused of protecting Big Pharma’s profits by withholding the details and evidence of clinical trials which might otherwise jeopardise drug companies’ profits.

Our regular readers will know that these types of ‘backroom deals’ between medical authorities and Big Pharma are nothing new. However, this is the first time that MEPs have stated, on paper, that the EMA is promoting the interests of Big Pharma in a dishonest manner. The very same interests it is meant to regulate on behalf of Joe Public!

Bringing it all together
Now you may ask how the EMA’s corruption fits in with the EFSA (mentioned earlier)… surely these are two separate entities?

In a way, they are, but at the end of the day they are all tiny parts of a big machine… a machine, which at the moment, is not working in favour of the very people it is supposed to protect and serve.

One can only hope that this latest backlash is a sign of better things to come… and that it will promote greater transparency and fairness.

In the meantime, we still need to make our voices heard. Since 1 May 2011, under the THMPD, the EU blocked has access to many herbal medicines. Some of you may have already noticed that some household remedies are being taken off the shelves.

So far, the European Commission has recognised that the THMPD is needlessly restricting consumer choice. In spite of this admission and questions being asked by MEPs regarding the draconian measures of the THMPD, nothing has yet been done to turn things around.

If we want the THMPD to be amended, we need every man on the streets to stand-up against these stringent laws.

Please sign the following petition, asking the EU Commission to change the directive and to refuse these excessive laws. We also ask that you forward this petition to anyone living in the EU, in order to get 1 million signatures and to help save herbal medicine.

Save Herbal Medicine Petition

View the original article here

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