Tuesday, March 24, 2009

In reply...

Dear Ex-drone,
I think it's interesting that up to this point, the only people reading my blog were friends, clients and well-wishers, but the second I post something that dares to challenge the NHP regulations I have comments from someone I don't know. Your post popped up about three hours after my original one - it's amazing to think that you were casually surfing the net without any agenda and just happened upon my little article!

I believe in transparency. Buckley is pretty blatant about his loyalties and where they lie and one has no doubt when speaking to him that this is a personal passion for him as well as a legal one. He spoke in depth about the Truehope case, so I did know that he was involved there. He also mentioned the three suicides that occurred immediately after a natural product that was used to help people with manic depression was taken away.

But I don't feel like it's my job to defend Buckley - he's a lawyer, he can handle that himself! I'm more interested in some of the information you have posted about NHPs and their removal from the shelves of health food stores. Of course on the surface, Canadians want the regulations: we were asked if NHPs should be tested for safety and efficacy and that sounds like a really good idea. But anyone who has ever looked at the application process has to admit that it is set up in a way that almost ensures failure. The "thousands of products" that have been passed through are almost all single ingredient products, mostly vitamins and minerals. The more complicated herbal formulas have to go through such an arduous procedure to be accepted that it looks impossible. NHPs such as single amino acids and glandular extracts are already disappearing. People are not as concerned as they should be because, as you nicely pointed out, the shelves look full. The large companies are not going to fold over these regulations, they will simply become dull and ineffective as they all make their own version of the same products. Innovation will die. New products imported from other countries will become non-existent.

As you mentioned, the regulations have been in effect since 2004, however the deadline - as you well know - is not until 2010. Thousands of applications are stuck in a backlog and it is anyone's guess (though I know where my money is) whether those will have gone through the process or not by next year. Many small companies are simply waiting until they are forced out. Is there a certain amount of self-interest here as you allege? Of course. This is their work, their livelihood, the way they feed their children and it is mine as well. You illustrate your point dramatically by comparing NHP regulations to the need for crumple zones and air bags in cars. Now I'm sure that if I could propel a bottle of dandelion root down a road at 100km per hour it would cause some damage worthy of the kind of restrictions it is facing. But at a couple drops under the tongue, I can't help but wonder what the real concern is.

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