Pubdate: Tue, 15 Apr 2002
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2002 Los Angeles Times
Authors:  Rick L. Root, Judith Plowden
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)
Note: The second LTE is not Drug Policy related


Examples of hypocrisy from politicians are hardly rare, but the 
example is clear in [Sen. Orrin] Hatch's unbending support for the 
dietary supplement industry ["A Dose of Herbal Reform," editorial, 
April 10] . Even though death and serious health problems are 
documented from the use of certain dietary supplements, his 
insistence is that the industry--which is mainly based in his own 
state--remain free of any regulation and its products be treated as 
food products. Yet Hatch is a staunch supporter of the federal war on 
marijuana, a war where even a hint of suggesting regulation is 
ridiculed as being preposterous. Any discussion on the subject of a 
state's right to regulate the medical use of marijuana is summarily 
dismissed, even though marijuana has never caused a single death; 
quite to the contrary, it is a healing herb.

Clearly, Sen. Hatch is beholden to his constituents in the dietary 
supplement industry. Clear, also, is his service to the 
pharmaceutical industry--a major donor to powerful people on both 
sides of the aisle--in making sure sick people are prevented from 
growing their own medicine or otherwise acquiring it from a 
noncorporate source.

Rick L. Root


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"A Dose of Herbal Reform" (editorial, April 10) is way off the mark. 
Yes, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) sponsored the 1994 Dietary Supplement 
and Health Education Act, but it was the American people who pushed 
it through--via one of the largest grass-roots responses ever seen on 
Capitol Hill. Today, given our ailing health care system, the 
American people want free access to their dietary supplements more 
than ever. They want, whenever possible, natural alternatives to 
prescription medications.

Yes, there are some unscrupulous small-time outfits selling herbs and 
steroids, but the dietary supplement industry is doing all it can to 
follow good manufacturing practices. When your editorial describes 
the makers of supplements as "spoiled" and "powerful," it is frankly 
ridiculous. The pharmaceutical giants, engaged in the most profitable 
business in the nation, are the ones with awesome power. They don't 
want the competition and are trying to discredit, control and usurp 
the dietary supplement industry. In the meantime, they push dangerous 
drugs through the Food and Drug Administration, raise prices to 
obscene levels, taint medical ethics by funding doctors and 
researchers and, obviously, influence the media.

Judith Plowden

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