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What would the proverbial alien from another planet think about Big Pharma?

The title of today's newsletter is a silly way to begin such a serious topic.  But it speaks to the craziness that is Big
Pharma.  No creature, earthly or otherwise, with the least bit of intelligence would accept this story as anything other
than fiction or insanity.  And even though we don't need more evidence, we're getting it anyway. The story of Big
Pharma's malfeasance is real.

The most recent news, as you probably know, is that residual pharmaceuticals are
turning up in our drinking water and
now in the
tissue of fresh water fish.  Drugs are polluting our environment and other living species to such an extent that
the EPA is going to investigate.  We have to wonder how well that agency will fare in this battle, even assuming the
EPA decides it's a battle worth fighting.

Even more recently comes this news:  FTC Commissioner J. Thomas Rosch testified before Congress just this past
Tuesday in support of legislation to ban "
pay-for-delay" settlements between Big Pharma companies and generic drug
companies.  This may seem a little obscure, but here's the deal.  Big Pharma companies are sued regularly by generic
manufacturers over patent protections.  The FTC estimates that in nearly 70% of those situations, the Big Pharma
companies pay off the generic manufacturers to get the smaller companies to drop their patent challenges and to delay
the introduction of the generic brand to market.  
It's like price fixing.  The FTC estimates that this practice resulted in
lost savings to consumers of an estimated 33% of all money spent on prescription drugs in 2008.  Although the FTC
has tried to curtail the process as anti-competitive, judicial courts tend to allow the practice since there are no strict laws
banning it.

Some may not have a problem with this kind of "private contracting" between drug manufacturers, claiming it's a
function of a free market.  But is a free market really free in the absence of full disclosure to consumers - the ones who
pay the ultimate price - about the true financial and environmental costs of Big Pharma practices?

We will say this: the pharmaceutical industry and its devotees in Washington D.C. have no standing to criticize or
comment on dietary supplements considering the pharmacuetical track record that gets more disturbing by the day.   In
similar fashion, supplements have no business being regulated like pharmaceutical drugs.  Supplements are food.  

We close with this thought: no one is going to stand up for dietary supplements unless it's the consumers, the retailers
and the practitioners who rely on supplements for well-being.  It's time to get ready because this debate about whether
supplements are more like foods or drugs is coming soon.
.

Thanks for your support.

Citizens for Health
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