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News of the Day ... In Perspective

5/14/2007

Ron Paul introduces bill to rein in the FDA

The Health Freedom Protection Act, H.R. 2117, introduced by Rep. Ron Paul, M.D., (R-TX), would stop the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from censoring truthful claims about the curative, preventative, or mitigative effects of dietary supplements.

The bill would prevent episodes such as the FDA threatening cherry growers for citing a study published by the American Chemical Society, which showed that tart cherries may relieve pain better than aspirin and other antiinflammatory drugs.

Cherries contain anthocyanins, which have ten times the potency of aspirin and lack the side effects of gastrointestinal bleeding. Eating about 20 cherries, or taking a capsule containing concentrated cherry paste, is said to be as effective as taking an aspirin or a COX-2 inhibitor (J Natural Products 1999 Feb;62(2):294-296).

While the FDA was threatening the cherry growers, it permitted television advertising of a new prescription-only COX 2 inhibitor for which long-term safety data were unavailable. That product is claimed to be associated with some 20,000 deaths, mostly from myocardial infarction.

According to Dr. Paul, the FTC has required “supplement manufacturers to satisfy an unobtainable standard of proof that their statement is true.” His proposed Act would place the burden of proof on the FTC to establish that an advertisement for a dietary supplement or ingredient is “false and misleading and that the advertisement actually causes consumers to be misled into believing to be true that which is demonstrably false” (Bill Sardi, LewRockwell.com 5/17/07).

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