Monday, January 12, 2009

Now, let's turn to the FDA

In our view, health care reform is a lot like the fable of the 6 blind men with the elephant. Nobody sees the whole picture.

There are different endings to that fable. In one version, the blind men turn their very-real individual experiences into something more complete and useful. In the other version . . . well, it hasn’t ended; they’re still arguing.

In the case of health care, both versions are familiar. The first, more hopeful version has felt for years like it’s just around the corner. But the second version more persistently holds our attention. Reconciling these versions of the story when it comes to health care is no small matter. Health is where many diverse realms meet:

• Where self-responsibility meets government regulation;
• Where personal choice meets the professional healing relationship; and
• Where the subjective experience of wellbeing meets objective, medical science.

We’ve worked together the past few weeks to put natural health front and center in the conversation about the elephant that is health care reform. And we thank you again for your contribution to this effort. Now, we dig a little deeper and in a more specific way. The FDA is obviously part of this elephant. And it’s to the FDA that we now turn our attention.

There are several formal FDA reform efforts going on right now. One that we’ve announced in the past, and continue to support, is the American Association for Health Freedom’s “Reform the FDA” petition. We’ll be addressing this petition more in the coming weeks. For now, learn more about this petition here.

Another interesting site to explore about FDA reform is at This is a detailed site that has some interesting and controversial ideas. Even if you don’t agree with everything you find there, at the very least, this site will make you think.

Indeed, while we may not agree with every detail of every approach to FDA reform, we do agree that there is a need right now for new, critical thinking about health care reform generally, and about FDA reform specifically. And lest you think that Non-Governmental Organizations are the only ones making this call, consider this letter to President-elect Obama from Congressman Bart Stupak (D-MI).

Also, we acknowledge that with any major change comes both risk and opportunity. Forces that oppose natural health could actually take advantage of FDA reform and make things tougher for us if we are not committed, diligent and persistent. With that in mind, the campaign that we are about to announce has the following goals:

• Build sustainable awareness and activism about our grassroots power as citizens and consumers.
• Establish measurable outcomes for our efforts.
• Expand the collaborative efforts of natural health supporters and associations.

So, here it is. Natural health care isn’t just the promotion of natural products and practices. It’s also protection against harmful products and practices that are being allowed in the name of commerce. In both cases, it’s up to us to hold the FDA accountable.

Many of you are familiar with the situation with Splenda, the trade name of sucralose as used by the self-described “health care” company, Johnson & Johnson. Beginning immediately next week and continuing for a few weeks, we’ll build a series of Action Alerts on the Splenda matter that will be directed to the FDA. For now, please inform yourself by reading this press release from Citizens For Health Chairman James S. Turner about new and urgent findings on sucralose.

The FDA is about to undergo an overhaul, one way or another. Even though this Splenda Action is just an example, it’s a very important example to the “new” FDA and others. Let’s show them by this Action Alert what we can do together.

Keep an eye out for next week’s Splenda Alert. Share this news as much as possible. And as always, thanks for your support.

© January 2009:

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