FDA Looking to Ban B6 Supplements, Give Boost to Big Pharma

Natural Society
by Elizabeth Renter

Vitamin B6, naturally present in a variety of foods, is necessary for proper nerve function, protein synthesis, regulating blood sugar, and producing antibodies and hemoglobin. In other words, it’s pretty important stuff. But, while many people get their B6 through supplements, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is looking to make things a lot more difficult—by slowly taking all forms of B6 supplements off the market so Big Pharma can make millions off of prescriptions instead.

According to the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH), the FDA has already begun their crusade. They removed Pyridoxamine (a natural form of B6) supplements from the market at the request of BioStratum, a pharmaceutical company. Why? Because BioStratum thinks it might be nice to use Pyrdoxamine in a prescription drug. They haven’t developed the drug, we don’t know what it is, and who knows when it will come to fruition, but the FDA honored a request from the big corporation to protect the company’s interest.

Now, the FDA is poised to pull another B6 product: P5P.

You see, the human body must convert B6 to P5P to make it usable within the body. Fortunately, some supplement companies have created P5P and it is currently available as a natural supplement. But, another pharmaceutical giant has petitioned the FDA to “protect its interests”.

Medicure Pharma would like all P5P removed from the supplement market so they can begin to work on a drug containing the crucial form of B6. In their petition, they state:

“Pharmaceutical companies developing new drugs must be protected from companies that may seek to market the ingredients in those drugs as dietary supplements. The marketing of such products has the potential to undermine the incentive for the development of new drugs because many people may choose to purchase the supplements rather than the drugs.”

So, that basically sums it up. In order to protect the money-grabbing interests of this company, at whatever risk to the health of the general public, the federal government should step in and take the supplements out. I suppose that line of thought makes sense if you are a top official with Medicure Pharma.

But, the FDA has not yet honored the ANH’s petition yet concerning the B6 supplements. And while the FDA doesn’t always care what is in the best interest of the people, we hope that by joining the ANH, we can make our voices heard.

You can help. Contact the FDA and Congress today and let them know that not all consumers are interested in drugs over supplements. You can find a petition here on the Alliance for Natural Health’s website.

Two other equally upsetting cases come to mind. Through examining and following the FDA’s decisions, anyone can see that the organization continuously pushes pharmaceutical drugs while censoring health food and supplements and their ability to heal. Such is the case with a company known as Fleminger, Inc. and their green tea product, where the FDA threatened to seize Fleminger Inc.’s products, in addition to making them completely change their claim statement. The company claimed green tea reduces the risk of breast and prostate cancer, so the FDA insisted they use the claim:

“Green tea may reduce the risk of breast or prostate cancer. FDA does not agree that green tea may reduce the risk because there is very little scientific evidence for the claim.”

In another situation, claims made by Diamond Foods that omega-3′s found in walnuts produce health benefits make their walnuts “drugs”. As far as the FDA is concerned, these “drugs” can not be legally marketed in the United States without an approved new drug application.

CEO Who Oversaw Mass Vioxx Deaths Now Teaching at Harvard and on Microsoft Board of Directors

AllGov

Raymond Gilmartin’s landing was a soft one after leaving behind an embattled Merck. The one-time top executive of the leading pharmaceutical company, which was engulfed in the Vioxx controversy last decade, splits his time these days between teaching part-time at Harvard and serving on the boards of major corporations.

Gilmartin served as Merck’s president and CEO for 12 years (1994-2006) during troubles that stemmed from the company’s anti-arthritis medicine Vioxx. Despite knowing that Vioxx was potentially lethal, Merck put it on the market in 1999. Although a Food and Drug Administration study showed that perhaps 55,000 Americans died from heart attacks and strokes after using Vioxx, other sources indicated that upwards of 500,000 people—almost all of them older adults—may have died from the drug, which produced lawsuit after lawsuit against Merck. The company wound up settling for $4.85 billion.

Before it was pulled from the market in 2004, the drug was very profitable for Merck, earning about $2 billion per year in revenue at its peak. It also paid handsomely for Gilmartin, who reportedly made $50 million in just five of his years at the corporate helm.

After retiring from his post, Gilmartin joined the faculty of Harvard Business School, where, according to the school’s Web site, he still serves as an adjunct professor, teaching second-year MBA candidates to run businesses just like he did in a course called Building and Sustaining Successful Enterprises.

Gilmartin also serves on the boards of General Mills, Inc., and the Microsoft Corporation.

Big Pharma Is Watching You

MoneyWatch.com, Dec. 2, 2010

The way things stand now, consumers’ personal information — often sensitive stuff about our health — is being sold without our knowledge or consent to on-line marketers; they then use it to bombard us with sales pitches for expensive drugs, medical devices and even surgical procedures. How does this happen? Let’s say that you’ve had a pain in your chest for the past two days. If you’re anything like me, you can’t wait to see a doctor. Instead you rush to your trusty computer and google “heart attack” or “chest pain” and try to figure out by wading through scores of websites, blogs, scholarly medical journals and interactive quizzes, whether you should call 911 immediately or stop snacking on Jalapeno peppers. But when you make such a query, according to a 144-page complaint filed last week with the FTC by several consumer groups (the Center for Digital Democracy, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, Consumer Watchdog and the World Privacy Forum), mechanisms designed to pick up your medical information are lurking everywhere. “Consumers now confront a sophisticated and largely stealth interactive medical marketing apparatus that has unleashed an arsenal of techniques designed to promote the use of specific brand drugs and influence consumers about treatment for health conditions,” states the complaint.Full story

Despite 2006 “Pledge,” Fast Food Companies Targeting Kids More Than Ever

PRWatch.org, Nov. 8, 2010

Children as young as two years old are seeing more fast food ads than ever before. Researchers found that in 2009, preschoolers saw 56 percent more ads for Subway, 21 percent more ads for McDonalds and 9 percent more ads for Burger King than they did in 2007. Older kids saw even more fast food ads, and African-American youth were exposed to at least 50 percent more fast food ads than white youth.

Fast food companies have also moved beyond television ads in their advertising practices, and now use social media to reach kids. For example, McDonalds has 13 Web sites that get 365,000 unique child visitors between the ages of 2 and 11, and 294,000 unique visits from teens ages 12 to 18 every month. McDonalds starts targeting kids as young as age two with websites like Ronald.com. McDonalds and Burger King have even created sophisticated “advergames” and online “virtual worlds” that engage children, like HappyMeal.com, McWorld.com and ClubBK.com.

The Yale study confirms, yet again, that when an industry imposes a voluntary code of conduct on itself, it is time for real and effective regulation of harmful corporate behavior. Voluntary codes are smokescreens.

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