Natural health practitioners in the UK enjoyed protection for centuries under Common Law but this is now under threat from the European Union. Unfortunately not many people know that EU law now takes priority over UK law.
This article first appeared in www.zeusinfoservice.com
In my opinion — without prejudice
NATURAL HEALTH PRACTITIONERS here in the UK enjoyed protection for centuries under Common Law but this is now under threat from the European Union. Unfortunately not many people know that EU law now takes priority over UK law. The EU operates under the Code Napoleon. This is an alien form of law for us here in the UK. Under Common Law we could do anything provided it is not illegal. Code Napoleon turns the tables on UK Common Law and allows us only what the State permits.
There are people who still think that because we had the Magna Carta (1215), the Petition of Right (1628), the Bill of Rights (1689) and the Act of Settlement (1701) these legal bills have not been repealed and that we are still protected. This is not true. There have been a number of attempts to annul our membership of the EU through the courts so that we could again be independent and self-governing but all of these attempts have failed. The reason for this failure is because Parliament, through its legal sovereignty, is the source of law in Britain and the Courts are unable to challenge any Parliamentary Act - and all EU laws have been or are being transposed into UK law.
Since 1972 when the European Communities Act was signed, many legislative powers have been handed over by successive Prime Ministers to the European Community as it was then, right up to the Lisbon Treaty today. This 'Lisbon Treaty' is really a re-hash of the European Constitution that was rejected with a resounding NO by France and Holland. However, the bureaucrats of Brussels were not going to let a little thing like the people of any member state interfere with their plans for a United States of Europe. They proceeded to change the name to Lisbon Treaty, carry on regardless and the people were ignored as they always are. (The Lisbon Treaty was rejected by Ireland). This same undemocratic attitude prevails when it comes to natural health and its practitioners and the Lisbon Treaty will transfer even more powers over health to Brussels.
Now let me explain how over the years, gradually, step by step, an inch at a time, our health freedoms have been eroded without many people in the natural health industry even appearing to notice! And the ones who did were either ignored or thought to be alarmist when they issued warnings. They were the Cassandras, the prophets of doom. It turned out however that their misgivings about European membership and the effect it would have on our natural health industry have been proved right all along.
After the 1972 European Communities Act was signed, the next danger that natural medicine was to face was the signing in 1992 of the notorious Maastricht Treaty which transferred great swathes of power over to Brussels, thus granting unaccountable bureaucrats control over the UK's natural health industry as well as Public Health! This Treaty tolled the death knell of natural medicine as we know it in the UK. At the time some of the more politically aware alternative therapists began to get seriously worried, although many still continued to be asleep at the wheel.
The next crisis that took place was in 1994-1995 and was mentioned in Barbara Griggs' book 'Green Pharmacy' where she warned against complacency. Unfortunately many alternative therapists did not believe that anything so malicious as the EU Food Supplement Directive and the Traditional Herbal Directive would ever surface. How wrong they were. Only a few lone voices continued to sound the alarm bells and as usual they were thought to be scaremongering. Still the natural therapists continued in a waking coma.
Linda Lazarides, of the Society for the Promotion of Nutritional Therapy, said: "the new law proposes (EU FSD) that this quango (the then Medicines Control Agency) which raises funds for itself from the compulsory licensing of medicinal products, will have sole powers to decide whether any health product should be classified as a licensable medicine and must be taken off the open market. It will have the power to send its officers, accompanied by police, at any time, to sweep vitamin and herbal products off health food shop shelves". (Health Guardian Spring 1999).
Even now many people know very little of the EU or the impact it is having on natural health. Most still assume, wrongly, that the new laws that are restricting the public's access to herbs, food supplements, homeopathy and other natural health products impacting on practitioners of alternative health, come from their own government. This is a false assumption.
By now there cannot be a single practitioner in the UK who is not aware of the EU Food Supplement Directive which effectively banned 300 nutrients that are included in about 5,000 health products available in the UK. The vitamin ban will have a very detrimental effect on human health. This came straight from the European Union and the politicians complied because the people's wishes are secondary to being in the European Union. The vitamin takers and the alternative therapists of Britain wrote thousands of letters, signed petitions, took to the streets, lobbied MPs and MEPs in order to stop this iniquitous Directive being implemented into UK law but as usual when it comes to Brussels, the voice of the public was disregarded.
At the time the EU Food Supplement Directive was being discussed, when many in the natural health industry began to wake up and start to mobilise, a Standing Committee was set up to pass this Directive into UK law. This joke of a Committee was made up of Blair's cronies who did as they were told and passed the Directive into law against massive public opposition. Sitting on this Committee were a couple of MPs who did not agree with the removal of supplements and were prepared to vote according to the wishes of their constituents who had written to them in droves. One of them was the sensible Kate Hoey, Labour MP for Southwark who must be commended for having her constituents' best interests at heart. When this was found out, she was kicked off and at the last minute a more 'compliant' MP was put onto the Committee who helped to voted it into UK law. Call this democratic?
One of these 'accommodating' stooges was the junior health minister at the time, Melanie Johnson, MP for Welwyn/Hatfield. When she was asked 'If these supplements are dangerous why are they not removed from the shelves?' and 'If they are not dangerous why are you voting to have them banned?' she stood there looking very sheepish and had no answer. It may interest you to know that in the Daily Express, Saturday 16th August 2008, in an article entitled, 'And Look At Who Else Is Now Cashing In', the very same ex-public health minister Melanie Johnson is now working for the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry. So she is working for the drug industry now, well what a surprise! Is this not a conflict of interest? How can it be tolerated in a so-called democracy? Many MPs, and according to the Daily Express she is one of them, have gone into the private sector – often in areas closely linked to their former Government posts.
At the time the EU FSD was passed into UK law, alternative therapists said the Directive was being pushed through by the EU in order to please the drug companies and that it had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with 'consumer safety'. This of course was vehemently denied except by Jeremy Corbyn, MP, who said the aggressive lobbying by the pharmaceutical industry at EU level was why this unfair Directive was being pushed so hard. Well, the truth is out now, as the sage Lao Tzu said, 'muddy water let stand becomes clear' and now with the passage of time we see with breathtaking clarity that a junior health minister, voted in by her constituents in Hatfield to protect their interests, was acting not for the good of the voters, as she claimed, (and I was one who had written to her several times regarding this issue) but because of vested interests.
There is one little good piece of news though, Ms. Johnson was trounced at the last election and voted out in Welwyn/Hatfield when the good burghers found out what she had done at this Standing Committee and how she had voted. I made sure they were enlightened. The people who ran the independent health shops and who were in natural health as well as the public, were incandescent with rage at what she had done. This vitamin issue was one of the major reasons that people-power removed this woman from public office. Of course she would not care over much, as she appears to have done pretty well after helping to destroy natural health in the UK and with it the health of thousands who rely on these supplements and natural medicines to stay well. Has she a moral conscience about this? I would doubt it. She had the colossal effrontery to write and tell me it was an issue of 'public safety'. How so, when vitamins and herbs came under stringent UK Food Law, amongst the most rigorous law in the world?
When most of the supplements and herbs are removed from the public's access thanks to the treachery of MPs who care more about their pocket and their careers than the people they purport to represent, we will have no option but to visit crowded doctors waiting rooms and queue up for a prescription from someone who will have the power to turn us down if we want extra Vitamin C, Echinacea or any other natural health supplement available over the counter in the UK for decades. And incidentally, orthodox medical doctors are not qualified nutritionists, herbalists, homeopaths or qualified in anything else connected to alternative medicine. Practitioners who have spent many long years training in a particular therapy, or several, are certainly not happy about the number of GPs now gaily treating their patients with 'complementary medicine' picked up at a weekend training course, regularly advertised at the back of the British Medical Journal.
The EU Directives took away free choice and responsibility from the ordinary citizen, removed the tools of the trade from nutritionists, herbalists and other natural health therapists and now the establishment is slowly working toward recognition for the state-registered only, which means holding a degree from a state approved university. Many practitioners have studied and qualified at excellent natural health schools that do not teach nutrition dogma or politically correct 'complementary medicine'. These schools are non-traditionally accredited but this does not please the EU. The type of education they provided was not approved by the State and it will certainly not be approved by the EU.
The joke is that we constantly hear about 'discrimination' and the laws brought into force by this new form of government are legion and yet they are now barring entrance to anyone but the formally educated with the required 'A' levels. The real egalitarian schools were the natural health ones which operated on the basis of open access. This was pioneered by the Open University and it gave many people admittance to educational opportunities that were previously denied through lack of formal educational qualifications. If a person was interested in studying a CAM discipline, they could apply. These schools are now not being 'recognised' because they lack what the EU calls 'state-accreditation'. In other words, only what the EU permits and approves of, will be valid. How does this fit in with the politically correct policy of 'non-discrimination' we hear so much about?
Schools of natural medicine never wanted State approval as this would interfere with their alternative health curriculum that teaches a different type of medicine to the orthodox. It is not politically correct, so of course it is heresy to the controllers in Brussels who want to micro-manage every aspect of our lives and 'standardise' and 'control' every bit of minutiae.
Is it not ironic that a weekend course is all an allopath needs to be considered an 'expert' and a true alternative therapist who has trained for years is dismissed as a charlatan or a quack? Injustice? I'll say it is. It is worse that this, it is a witch hunt. Doctors cannot truly practise alternative medicine because its very definition is an action or therapy that is not drugs, radiation or surgery. The idea that it can complement orthodox medicine is a travesty.
In April 2004 the EU Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive (THMPD) came into force throughout the EU. This Directive 2004/24/EC is being fully implemented in April 2011.
This removed the important safeguards from the original Medicines Act which gave herbal practitioners a special legal status. From then on a university degree will be required to practise herbalism or an orthodox doctor will be able to give out 'advice'. The irony is that with little or no formal training an allopath can give information on natural remedies whereas a 'lay' practitioner with considerable knowledge, experience and training will be at a disadvantage to the 'agents of the state' which is all they are, as state-registered purveyors of orthodox medicine.
A Joint Working Group, now called the Steering Group, established by Jane Kennedy, then Minister of State in the Dept. of Health, in June 2006 was set up specifically to prepare the ground for the regulation of practitioners of herbal medicine, acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine and other types of traditional medical systems practised in the UK. The Steering Group is headed up by Professor Mike Pittilo. This is an associate of Professor Edzard Ernst, from the same group whose hostile attitude to alternative medicine is well known. Putting him in charge of this Steering Group, this 'expert' with no qualifications in alternative medicine, is like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse. He will no doubt be the hatchet man who delivers the final blow to our natural health industry.
The EU Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive has already been passed into UK law as has the Novel Foods Directive
and the Human Medicinal Products Directive, also known as the Pharmaceutical Directive.
These directives issued from the unelected and faceless bureaucrats of Brussels have the force of law. They in effect give drug regulatory agencies, made up of orthodox doctors, sweeping powers to regulate and ban many forms of natural medicine, homeopathy, nutritional supplements, herbs, flower essences and even acupuncture. They could all be regulated like a drug. And make no mistake, this is their agenda.
Barbara Griggs, author of the New Green Pharmacy, said 'In October 1994, the (then) Medicines Control Agency, the authority responsible for overseeing all the U.K. medicines, made a devastating announcement. Its officials admitted that due to an 'oversight' in harmonising UK medicines law with its European counterpart, all the hard-won legislation incorporated in the 1968 UK Medicines Act guaranteeing British herbalists access to their herbal medicines, had accidentally been swept away. This was no accident, as the Agency is an EU quango full of appointees who receive generous remuneration. It can hardly be called an impartial enforcement authority, made up of allopaths with connections to Big Pharma. There are thousands of EU quango-agencies and their well paid members operating in the UK now – the MCA (now MHRA) is one of them.
From the beginning of 1995 all herbal remedies would require full medicinal licences costing hundreds of thousands of pounds for each herb. From that time on we have lost thousands of herbs and herbal preparations. The herbal community, according to Barbara Griggs, pooled its limited resources and launched a public campaign. Thousands of letters poured through the letter boxes of government ministers, UK and European MPs and the Medicines Control Agency. Eventually the UK Government capitulated and a face-saving formula was found that safeguarded the status of herbal medicine.
At the time the herbalists thought, (except me because I could see the writing on the wall), that the legal controls which gave herbalists the freedom to practice herbal medicine would continue. Important provisions had been written into the Medicines Act which allowed the practice of herbal medicine to flourish in the UK. This is no longer the case.
All this talk about 'protecting public safety' is total nonsense. These therapies have been practised by mankind for hundreds of years without harm. Herbal medicine is one of the oldest types of healing and is mentioned in the Book of Genesis. Plants have been used throughout history both for culinary purposes and for healing. They are valuable food sources that aid the body as a whole. They are not drugs and a university degree is not necessary nor a knowledge of plant chemistry, in order to practise herbal medicine. This however is now the requirement of the EU and the conventional doctors who exert so much influence in the decision-making there.
Over the years I have seen so many of our wonderful natural and herbal remedies removed from public access and the herbalists themselves have had many herbs removed by orthodox doctors who sit on EU appointed quangos, even though they are not qualified herbalists. Kava Kava is just one example. Medicinal teas, bottles of herbal cough mixtures, jars of ointments, bottles of herbs with unfamiliar names, pungent oils for colds on the chest - nearly all have now been removed and replaced with products made by pharmaceutical companies and sold in pharma-owned chemists. Whether these are more therapeutic or not is open to question. If the thousands of sick people who wait to be seen at hospital A & E departments or who queue to go and see a GP is anything to go by, I would say the answer is No. The issue of course is one of freedom of choice.
Gradually over the past 15 years removal of natural products has taken place without publicity or fanfare and by stealth.
All of these unjust and unscientific directives were hatched in the EU without the people being consulted either here or in the European Union. The EU Commissioner for Health is Markos Kyprianou an international lawyer and professional politician.
Here is his profile. Do you think he has any knowledge or training in natural health?
In Europe the good citizens are used to having only doctors or pharmacists giving out vitamins, homeopathic medicines, etc. when they are ill, just like drugs.
We in the U.K. have had a more liberal approach and a vitamin culture. We have thousands of lay practitioners and free access to natural health care. They do not in any Member State and France, Spain and Germany have pushed the hardest to put a stop to us continuing to enjoy this alternative health freedom. The European medical cartel want to protect the monopoly that orthodox doctors have over there under the guise of 'protecting the public'. They are in a high dudgeon that we over here are free to choose what type of health care we want but all this indignation is just jealousy with a halo. They are worried and frightened that with free movement their citizens can cross over here as they have done for decades and buy what we have had access to for years. They want to stop this so that they can continue to hold the reins of power and would not want the UK to enlighten their public, now would they?
Over there, what we can buy freely, they give out on prescription, at a price. This nice little earner will go of course, if the good citizens of the EU are free to waltz into a health store in the UK and use their own judgement when they decide what to buy.
In 1996 the Natural Medicine Society produced a booklet called 'Is There A Future for Complementary Medicine in Europe?' In this booklet Paul Lannoye, a Belgian MEP for the Green Party stated that 'the UK is one of the countries most largely open to the practice of non-conventional medicine'. He wanted to help preserve our freedoms. Unfortunately the Lannoye Report which was put forward in 1994 was bitterly opposed by medical and pharmaceutical interests in the EU, particularly France and Spain and it fell by the wayside for procedural reasons almost at the start. By 1997, the Report had yet to be voted on. Nothing has happened since.
In this Report, Lannoye stated that 'in some European countries practitioners of these medicines are submitted to real repression'. Paul Lannoye also pointed out in the Report that there would be no point whatsoever in legislating on the status of nonconventional medicine if alternative practitioners did not have at their disposal the full range of therapeutic products which they needed in order to practise. He was aware of the new legislation in the pipeline that would affect food supplements, herbs, homeopathic medicines etc. in order to harmonise the UK with Europe.
It was also noted in the Report that the level of training required for an optimum professional qualification inevitably varied from one discipline to another. Lannoye felt that it would be inappropriate to demand such practitioners have a full-blown university training which is what is being demanded by the EU now. The Labour government in tandem with the EU have made it clear that they wish to see 'complementary' medicine (as alternative medicine is now called, running parallel to orthodox medicine and not independent) take its place within the integrated system of healthcare currently being promoted.
Integrated is a code word for orthodox takeover. Lannoye argued that practitioners who had qualified in their respective disciplines and had practised for decades could not be 'evicted' just like that. Although there is talk of 'grandfather' rights being granted to established practitioners, it is very likely they will find the bar will be set so high that few will be able to meet the requirements of state-registration and consequently they can get ready for redundancy. This is the way the EU operates - there is never a full frontal assault and what is carried out is always reeking of the sanctified air of do-goodery to 'protect public health' and which is what is happening now.
The French Medical Association, L'Ordre des Medecins, has announced that it is 'totally opposed' to European proposals to recognise, regulate and harmonise nonconventional forms of health care in member countries. Does this pronouncement give you faith that you will be able to continue to have access to health supplements or to practice alternative medicine in the UK? You must remember that the Franco/German axis drives the EU.
In his Report, Paul Lannoye, who became Belgian Deputy Prime Minister, put forward the proposals which were due to be debated in 1996 in the European Parliament. (BMJ 1996; 313:710 21 September). In its September issue the Bulletin de l'Ordre des Medecins said that 'legislation on complementary medicine varies widely between different European Countries, as does the number of techniques identified' (see BMJ, 20 July, p132). It stated that Lannoye's estimate that between 20% and 50% of patients consulted a practitioner of complementary medicine was vastly exaggerated. It also dismissed as nonsense his suggestion that such practitioners be given limited medical training, (in the light of eight years of study and the continued education required by doctors).
Obviously, according to the French medical establishment, lay practitioners do not have the brainpower needed to study the very complicated system that is the human body. Lannoye's report wanted new ways to evaluate complementary medicines and procedures but the French Association said that it was not the 'methods of evaluation' that needed to be questioned it was 'the lack of efficacy' of the many complementary treatments.
The same polemic rages today, with a vocal band of orthodox doctors here in the UK singing from the same hymn sheet, i.e. 'what is the use of accepting the alternative therapists if their therapies are useless?' According to their blinkered view, these therapies have no value, never mind that the people who use them DO derive value, therefore they cannot be called useless.
This French medical association did not want to accept 'unproven' therapies without questioning their efficacy and they demanded that unconventonal therapies should be subjected to the same double blind tests that drugs are put through. You can see from this that unelected French doctors, the other side of the Channel Tunnel, (including the Germans and the Spanish putting their oar in), are now in a position, thanks to our membership of this wretched EU, to make rules for us that we did not vote for and do not agree with.
In France, words like 'medicine', 'treatment', 'diagnosis' and even 'massage' are owned by orthodox medicine and any trespass into this territory could land you in jail. The largest single occupational group in the EU Parliament is orthodox doctors. The weight of many of these mainland countries will outgun the obscure Common Law tradition of the UK every single time and we will never win because we are outnumbered. So if you still think that alternative medicine has a future in the UK whilst we are in the EU, you had better think again.
The Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency or MHRA, acts as an unsupervised police force, judge and jury. Thanks to Britain's EU membership, the only criteria which the MHRA now needs to apply in order to remove anything it deems 'dangerous' from health store shelves would be whether the product is capable of altering physiological function? (Health Guardian Spring 1999). So much for 'democracy'. This agency reviews scientific evidence in SECRET.
Can you believe that this is happening in liberal Britain in the 21st Century?
According to the Health Guardian, Spring 1999, the Department of Health, with what appeared to be support from elements of the pharmaceutical industry and the encouragement of the doctors' trade union, the British Medical Association, wanted to do away with consumer health care rights. You read it right, DO AWAY WITH CONSUMER HEALTH CARE RIGHTS. This Agency makes money for itself in licensing fees by declaring vitamin products to be licensable medicines. therefore it has a vested interest in declaring innocuous substances to be medicines in order to make money, does it not? Also, what exactly is the legal definition of a 'dietary supplement'? In the UK this has always been a food because vitamins are found in foods. These substances are not drugs, even in higher levels. How then can they be re-classified? This is crooked science.
It appears to have been happening in the 9 years that have elapsed since 1999. Legal experts at the time, said that the MCA procedures contravened the European Convention on Human Rights.
Who are these 'experts' in the MHRA? Do any one of us know their names, did we vote them in and more importantly can we throw them out? No is the answer. And another important point, who is paying them? They are not accountable to the voters and we cannot sling them out if they are useless or know nothing about alternative medicine but they get fat fees. In effect what has been happening has spelled nothing less than the end of herbal and natural medicine in the UK.
It is not just vitamin supplements and herbs that are under threat. Homeopathic medicines were protected in the UK under the Medicines Act 1971. The then Medicines Commission considered that any medicine which is diluted to one part per million or greater was harmless and therefore even when a medicine was on the Prescription List Only, at a 6x dilution or greater, it was exempt from restriction and could be supplied by 'lay' practitioners and sold in shops. This is now about to change to bring us into line with Europe where homeopathic medicines are given out by orthodox doctors on prescription or pharmacists who have the monopoly. Again this protection in law has been trashed by successive Treaties that have transferred massive powers over natural health to Brussels. If you do not believe me, do some research and you will find out that this is the case.
Throughout the 1990s, the attacks on natural medicine would continue, albeit in a different form and when New Labour came in I knew that the attacks would start again in earnest. They won the election in May 1997 and in June 1997 the onslaught began with the Vitamin B6 fiasco. At the time the Government did not like the furore that restriction of this vitamin's dosage caused. You had Jeff Rooker, a Birmingham MP with no qualifications whatsoever in natural medicine (now elevated to the peerage), attacking natural health like a bull at a gate. During this debacle he was pushing hard to get vitamin B6 banned. I saw Rooker on TV speaking of the dangers of B6 in higher dosages and yet at the same time telling us all about 'wonder drugs'.
I had my suspicions then that this MP might not have been unbiased when it came to natural medicine. At the time I spoke to one of the directors of Solgar vitamins and they told me Rooker would listen to no argument and that the thousands of letters sent to him were incinerated, not even read. The one I sent did not get a reply. Someone who is a paid up servant of the public that our taxes feed and water, had the audacity to not even reply, nor did anyone in his department. Alan Milburn, Minister for Health was no better. A constituent of his wrote to him asking for help regarding the banning of the higher dosage vitamin B6 from the market and he told her in his letter when he wrote back that he 'could not help her'. Marvellous isn't it? Coming from the Minister for Health. What a rebuff to a voter who may have put him in power.
The National Health Service has a considerable bias towards allopathic medicine and therefore will always give it preference and will relegate 'complementary' medicine to second class status regardless of whether patients want it or not. There is also the problem that the so-called 'health professionals' who practise medicine, will give out woeful advice. So consequently, without legal protection, the alternative health practitioners will eventually be driven out and the public will have no more access to natural health.
At the time the NHS was brought into being, Aneurin Bevan, the then Minister of Health (1946) rejected an amendment to the National Health Bill that brought it into law. The amendment to the Bill which was tabled would have given people the right to receive the care they chose under the NHS. The Socialist Bevan's response was 'it is an impossible suggestion' because 'any Tom, Dick or Harry would be able to prey upon the credulity of any citizen and could call upon the State to provide the money for that service' (See Hansard, 23 July 1946, col. 1902). Bevan described conventional medicine as being scientifically ascertainable, in contrast to natural medicine, which would become an accepted form of medicinal therapy 'if it was capable of systematisation, codification or verification' (Ibid., cols. 1903-4). The same bias exists today and I cannot see this changing.
Alternative medicine will continue to exist in a harsh legislative climate with more and more attacks from every orthodox angle until its gentle flame is finally extinguished. It will be completely annexed to allopathic medicine which will practise an adulterated form of 'complementary' medicine that will be of no therapeutic use to anyone and drugs will always reign supreme both for treatment and prevention. The only way we can protect ourselves from these major infringements of our human rights and to come out of the Dark Ages and into the Light of Truth concerning alternative medicine, is to leave the EU altogether. We must therefore vote for politicians who want us to leave. Nothing else will save our natural medicine and ultimately our health.