FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                              Thursday, July 17/2003

War on Natural Health Products Escalates

"What's next from Health Canada's Keystone Cops?"

NANAIMO - Dr. James Lunney, MP for Nanaimo-Alberni, reacted with outrage to Tuesdays RCMP/ Health Canada raid on a Natural Health Products company in Raymond, Alberta.

"Health Canada's latest attack on the freedom of Canadians to make their own health choices is intolerable. They have resorted to extreme, unwarranted measures to prevent promising, low risk products from reaching Canadians who require them. This bureaucratic interference is out of control; it is contrary to science and to the public interest."

On July 15, about twenty armed officers and Health Canada officials raided the offices of Truehope Nutritional Support, charging the company has been selling a nutritional supplement to the mentally ill without government approval. The RCMP demanded that employees immediately stop working and back away from their computers. They proceeded to downloaded company information from hard drives while confiscating stacks of documents.

The supplement in question, Empowerplus, a combination of 36 vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants, has a successful track record in treating symptoms of mental illness. Health Canada states that, under Canadian law, making health claims classifies a supplement as a drug and therefore requires solid, scientific proof of effectiveness before it can be legally sold.

Meanwhile, without any scientific evidence of safety or effectiveness, Health Canada has approved a plan to distribute marijuana through Medical Doctors. This week Minister Anne McLellan stated that if medical marijuana proved not to work she'll shut down the program. Yet, Health Canada has already moved to shut down the $544,000 study of Empowerplus being conducted at the University of Calgary, despite early evidence of effectiveness. What's wrong with this picture?

After the Health Committee report in 1999 and the Transition Team Report in 2000, Canadians were led to believe that the antiquated clauses in the Food and Drug Act that forbid health claims for natural health products would be addressed to acknowledge the scientific evidence that many diseases and disorders can be mitigated through judicious use of natural health products. Lunney has sponsored a Private Members Bill (C-420) which is currently before the House; it would place natural health products under a food directorate rather than an adversarial drug style bureaucracy.

"These draconian measures against a promising vitamin and mineral compound betray the public trust. It¹s time to reign in Health Canada¹s Keystone Cops and give Canadians freedom of choice in personal health care,² concluded Lunney.


For further information please contact:
Dr. James Lunney -(613) 992-5243 or (250) 390-7550


Room 678, Confederation Bldg

House of Commons,

Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

Tel: 613-992-5243

Fax : 613-992-9112



#7-6908 Island Hwy. North

Nanaimo, B.C.  V9V 1P6

Tel:  250-390-7550

Fax:  250-390-7551

Toll Free:  1-866-390-7550