Senators Intervene To Halt Wellness Ambassadors Who Recommend Dietary Supplements Instead of Drugs at Rite-Aid Stores
by Bill Sardi
Recently by Bill Sardi: I Thought Separation of Church and State Was a Two-Way Street
About 300 of Rite-Aid's 4700 drug stores are starting to direct customers to what they want — wellness without dependence upon problematic and over-priced prescription drugs. But that practice has obviously upset Big Pharma. These white-coated ambassadors are allegedly pretending they are pharmacists and directing patients to diet supplements — heaven's to Betsy!
At least that is what two US Senators allege in their letter to Rite-Aid, which has GNC nutrition centers inside many of its stores. A letter from the senators to Rite-Aid says they are concerned these ambassadors "could be making false and misleading claims by marketing dietary supplements as treatments for health conditions."
Wait a minute – I thought the Dietary Supplement Health & Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA) gave the right to market dietary supplements as long as they strictly support health, not as cures, treatments or prevention for any disease. Drugs do not promote wellness, and few are an appropriate cure for anything.
A grave problem (the word grave being used in its true meaning) is that that DSHEA didn't go far enough. Dietary supplements do in fact prevent, treat and cure diseases, many of them. The Food & Drug Administration mandates censorship of the truth. Doesn't vitamin D prevent rickets, vitamin C prevent scurvy, vitamin B1 prevent beri beri, etc?
The FDA says that even claims that these obvious nutrient deficiency diseases are remedied by vitamin pills must be stated in terms of which bodily structure and functions they affect, they cannot be labeled they prevent, treat or cure a disease when they clearly do. For example, the label on a bottle of vitamin D pills could say "promotes healthy bones" or vitamin C could say "supports healthy capillaries" (connectors between arteries and veins). They can't say "prevents osteoporosis" or "treats arteriosclerosis."
The FDA says (can you believe this?) that dietary supplements would be required to submit a New Drug Application to the FDA to make such a disease/cure claim. Ditto for limes if a label affixed to them said they cure scurvy, as they did for British sailors in the 19th century. How absurd.
How dare these “wellness ambassadors” direct anyone to a dietary supplement instead of a drug! Forget that drug companies and pharmacists are hiding the fact that diet supplements replicate the biological action of most Rx drugs without the high cost or side effects. Why modern medicine treats every disease as if it were a drug deficiency goes unexplained. Terrible that anyone should address the true cause of disease with a dietary supplement rather than a drug.
Instead of getting vitamin B1 to treat heart failure, you get diuretics and digitalis that deplete vitamin B1.
Instead of getting vitamin D to treat osteoporosis you get synthetic bone hardeners.
Instead of getting vitamin C to treat high cholesterol you get liver-toxic statin drugs which increase the risk for muscle aches, diabetes and mental confusion, and while "FDA-approved," statin drugs only prevent one non-mortal heart attack among 1 in 200 healthy adults and 1 in 70 at-risk adults.
Instead of getting fish oil, magnesium, resveratrol, vitamin E or a garlic pill to thin the blood you get vitamin-K depleting warfarin or coumadin which then result in calcification and stiffening of arteries.
Instead of resveratrol, SAMe, vitamin E or folic acid for mental depression you get Elavil or Wellbutrin. If you are mentally depressed due to a nutrient deficiency these drugs artificially elevate mood, are inappropriate and do not address the primary cause of the problem, only its symptoms. The drug only masks the symptoms of the nutrient deficiency.
Instead of getting vitamin D, resveratrol, folic acid or vitamin B1 to remedy Alzheimer’s-like dementia, you get Aricept or Tacrine that are no better than a placebo tablet.
Instead of getting fish oil after a heart attack to natural slow the heart rate you get beta blockers which induce energy deficiency in the heart, as well as asthma, fatigue, impotence and poor mental function.
That Congress wants to step in and protect pharmaceutical profits is fascism, not democracy. Government will steer you in a safe direction, right? How many Americans die of properly-used prescription drugs annually? Answer: over 100,000. How many die from use of dietary supplements? Answer: according to poison control center data, zero.
Maybe natural health advocates should hand out the proper questions for consumers to ask in retail stores, questions that will pass the scrutiny of a government censor, so wellness ambassadors can provide true answers. Questions like these:
Instead of asking "What can I take that would substitute for a statin cholesterol-lowering drug?, ask: "What do I take to support healthy cholesterol levels?" (vitamin C, apple pectin, resveratrol)
Instead of asking "What can I take in place of coumadin and Warfarin?" ask: "What do I take to support healthy blood clotting?" (fish oil, garlic, magnesium, resveratrol, vitamin E)
Instead of asking "What can I take in lieu of digitalis and beta blockers for heart failure?" ask: "What do I take to promote a stronger heart?" (vitamin B1)
Instead of asking "What is the alternative to diabetic drugs?" ask: "What do I take to support healthy kidneys, eyes and nerves if I am a diabetic?" (vitamin B1)
Instead of asking "Don't you have something natural that will replace my antidepressant drug?" ask: "What natural products can I take that promote a healthy mood?" (vitamin D, folic acid, SAMe, resveratrol)
Instead of asking "What can I take in lieu of antibiotics so I don't develop germ resistance?" ask: "What do I take to support a healthy immune response?" (vitamin D, vitamin C, fish oil, beta glucan, quercetin, oil of oregano, garlic, cinnamon extract)
Instead of asking "What can I take in lieu of allergy medications?" ask: "What natural anti-histamines are available?" (vitamin C, quercetin)
If public health authorities were truly interested in protecting consumers from product-related health problems they would require drug companies to list all of the nutrient deficiencies induced by pharmaceuticals. Some common examples are:
Vitamin C depleted by: cortisone/prednisone (steroidal anti-inflammatories), aspirin, estrogen replacement, tobacco, antacids.
Vitamin B1 depleted by: digitalis, diuretics (water pills), antibiotics, antacids.
Vitamin B12: antibiotics, antacids.
Vitamin D: cortisone/prednisone, some cholesterol-lowering drugs.
Zinc: ACE inhibitors (Enalapril, Lisinopril), cortisone/prednisone, estrogen, some antidepressants, antacids.
Magnesium: digitalis (digoxin), antibiotics, diuretics, estrogen, cortisone/prednisone, antacids.
Folic acid (vitamin B9): aspirin, cortisone/prednisone, metformin anti-diabetic drug, estrogen), antacids
Taking drugs that induce deficiencies of essential nutrients means patients will never get well.
Who knows, government overseers may soon install wire taps in health food stores and pharmacies to listen in on private conversations about dietary supplements over the telephone.